As one of the few All Blacks left in Mark Hammett's squad Hurricanes backline ace Cory Jane is still getting used to the idea of being a senior player, and has resisted the added responsibility of playing fullback.
The versatile outside back is by his own admisssion one of the less serious members of the squad, with controversial incidents like referee abuse on Twitter and a mid-World Cup drinking session with Israel Dagg just some of the examples of his antics off the pitch.
However, following an exodus of All Black veterans from Wellington last year Jane has been asked to step up and play a leadership role in the inexperienced squad who are currently on tour in South Africa.
He told this website in an exclusive interview that it is something he is still trying to adjust to.
"I got told off already from a few of the older boys because I have got to do that leadership role and I like to muck around and have a bit of fun, and sometimes I take the fun too far.
"I have got to be a bit smart and know that the young fellows are looking up to us and we lead by example and they follow," he said.
Despite his new role Jane is still determined to enjoy his rugby as much as he can, which is why he has asked not to play in his favoured role of fullback, as there is less responsibility out on the wing which gives him a chance to focus on his own game.
He revealed: "I told the coaches that I wouldn't mind jumping on the wing just so that I can play rugby and not have to worry about if people are in the right positions or if this person is not doing his job or stuff like that.
"I can just go out there and play my game and get involved by chasing kicks or making a couple of tackles instead of being down the back trying to organise all the time.
"Back there you have always got to be in position if the guys drop the ball and have to organise your wingers whereas now I can organise my side of the field, which makes my fullback's job easier instead of him having to worry about the whole field," sid Jane.
Jane said that the Hurricanes have had to adapt their approach this season, and are trying to present a more united front in a change from the individual flair that has been such a big part of their rugby in recent seasons.
However, this does not mean that the Hurricanes will be boring to watch this year and Jane is confident that some of the rough diamonds in the squad will shine up nicely in the course of the season.
He explained: "As a team, we feel like just that - the boys are working hard for each other. We know that we have lost a lot of quality players that can make things happen out of nothing so we know that we have to work as a team.
"We have to go out there and give 100% for the man next to you. We know that we can't rely on those individuals to break games open anymore, and we have to do it for each other.
"But in saying that this year we might unearth a few more little superstars that can do that, but at the moment we just know that we have got to do everything as a team," said Jane.
By Michael de Vries
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