Cane expected to make "full recovery" from broken neck

The Rugby Championship
by AAP

All Blacks star Sam Cane said he "may not be standing" if his neck wasn't so strong but the flanker is expected to make a full recovery after suffering a neck fracture. 

The 26-year-old was injured while making a tackle during New Zealand's 32-30 Rugby Championship victory over South Africa in Pretoria on Saturday. Cane required surgery.

"Sam Cane is up and about after his successful operation in South Africa," the All Blacks said on their Twitter account, also posting a photo of Cane standing up and wearing a neck brace.

Cane later posted a message on his Twitter, saying: "A few things to be thankful for. Firstly, the circumference and strength of my neck, I may not be standing without it.

"Secondly, the world class medical and surgical team I've had here in Pretoria, couldn't have asked for anything more.

"Thirdly, from all the support I've received from family, friends, NZRU, SAR and all the messages from around the world. Really appreciate the messages it means a lot."

All Blacks doctor Tony Page said on Sunday Cane would probably be out of action for at least three months, while coach Steve Hansen said they would not rush his return to the field.

Hansen received further good news on Wednesday with a trio of injured front rowers expected to return to the field this week, Fairfax Media reported.

Hooker Dane Coles has not played since rupturing knee ligaments against France on last year's end-of-season tour, while tighthead prop Nepo Laulala was sidelined after breaking his arm during Super Rugby, an injury that required surgery.

Coles is expected to make a cameo appearance for Wellington against Taranaki in New Zealand's provincial championship on Friday, while Laulala is to return for Counties Manukau against Canterbury the following day.

Laulala is likely to face fellow All Blacks prop Joe Moody, who broke his thumb against the Wallabies on August 25, in the clash in Christchurch on Saturday.

If all three come through their games unscathed they are expected to be included in Hansen's squad for an end-of-season tour that features Tests against Australia, Japan, England, Ireland and Italy.

The All Blacks face Australia in the third Bledisloe Cup match in Yokohama on October 27 before taking on 2019 Rugby World Cup hosts Japan in Tokyo on November. 3.