What we saw in Palmerston North tonight would indicate otherwise. Jane has lost top end speed, but he has put his experience and skills to use to define a new position in Rugby Union; the playmaker in counter attack rugby. The flick pass left, the flick pass right, the chip kick, the touch-finder. All was on display tonight.
He had a hand in most Hurricanes tries tonight, mainly as a distributor in orchestrating the counter attack moves from a roving position on either flank. The best example of this was for Marshall’s game changing try. He got out wide, and flicked on a pass where a less experienced player may have gone for the line himself.
Just like you would expect a first five to do; only wider.
He will never beat his man on the outside again, age does that, but he is refining his skills to make the most of them in his senior years.
It is hard to think of a precedent in rugby union; perhaps the better comparison lies in football; whether it be Jan Molby in the 1980s or Alexander Del Piero in the A-League.
Even when the pace deserts you, there is always skill to fall back on.