AUCKLAND, September 8- All Blacks flanker Sam Cane said Tuesday that the New Zealanders are not daunted by the massive expectations they will carry at the upcoming World Cup.
The All Blacks go into the tournament as defending champions and ranked number one in the world after losing just three of 47 Tests since the last World Cup in 2011.
While past New Zealand teams have been guilty of choking on the big stage, most notably in 1999 and 2007, Cane said the current squad were relishing the pressure.
“The overall feeling is we’re truly excited and there’s no real feeling of carrying the weight of expectation or anything weighing us down,” he told reporters.
“We’re really looking to embrace the challenge.”
The New Zealand public expects nothing less than a tournament win from Richie McCaw’s men, but to achieve the feat they must become the first All Black team to claim the trophy on foreign soil and the first from any nation to defend the crown.
“We can’t wait to get over there,” Cane said.
Assistant coach Ian Foster said the players held nothing back at training in Auckland as they prepare to open their campaign with a bruising clash against Argentina at Wembley on September 20.
“It was needed,” Foster said. “Sometimes you don’t have to enjoy something but you know it’s good for you.
“What you can’t do is go into a massive Test against Argentina in 12 days unprepared and not ready for the physicalness that’s going to come.”
The All Blacks depart for England on Thursday.