Picture Credit: Twitter

Picture Credit: Twitter

All Blacks captain Sam Cane has expressed his regret over kicking out a teenage pitch invader during the final moments of New Zealand's win over Argentina in Mendoza on Sunday, July 9. Cane said he made a "split-second" decision to fend off the fan, who ran onto the field and tried to hug him, but felt bad about it afterward and apologized to the young man.

Cane's action was caught on camera and sparked a social media backlash, with some fans accusing him of being disrespectful and violent. However, the All Blacks captain said that he did not intend to hurt the fan and was only trying to protect himself and his teammates from a potential security breach.

"We had come in for a huddle post-game as we usually do then I got called out for media requests and saw a pitch invader coming towards our direction with a security guard some distance behind," Cane said.

The Chiefs captain continued, "In that moment I made a split-second decision to assist the security guard in stopping him, and that way he could take him off the field."

The 31-year-old said he realized his mistake when he saw the fan's face and felt sorry for him and sought him out after the match, even sharing a light-hearted joke with him. New Zealand defeated Argentina 41-12 in their opening match of the Rugby Championship and will face South Africa next on July 15.