New Zealand captain Sam Cane will be sidelined for up to six months after suffering a pectoral injury, his Super Rugby team Waikato Chiefs have said.
Cane will miss the remainder of the Super Rugby Aotearoa season and undergo surgery next week after suffering the injury in the win over the Auckland Blues on Saturday, they said in a statement.
"I'm obviously disappointed but also really positive that it’s an easy fix," said Chiefs co-captain Cane.
"I'm looking forward to getting into some rehab post-surgery and doing that really well, so I am coming back in good shape for the end of the rugby season, whatever rugby that maybe."
Scans and specialist examination revealed a tear in Cane’s right pectoral tendon, with a recovery time of four-to-six months post-surgery, the Chiefs said.
That will rule Cane out of the All Blacks' Tests against Italy and Fiji slated for July, pending World Rugby sign-off.
A full six-month recovery would also mean Cane missing out on at least part of the four-nation Rugby Championship, which is expected to be held in a September-October window.
New Zealand lock Sam Whitelock, who has led the side on several occasions, will be among the top candidates to replace Cane as skipper, while loose forward Ardie Savea could take the number seven shirt in his absence.
"We are all disappointed for Sam, but we have full faith in the medical team around him and we wish him well for his surgery and rehabilitation," said All Blacks coach Ian Foster.
"As All Blacks captain, he will still play a key role in our planning for the 2021 season, and we look forward to him returning to the footy field once his rehab is complete."
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