Captain's call as to who might lead All Blacks

All Black locks Brodie Retallick (left) ad Sam Whitelock front at a media session in Dublin last...
All Black locks Brodie Retallick (left) ad Sam Whitelock front at a media session in Dublin last year. PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES
Kieran Read is moving offshore and the All Blacks are on the hunt for a new skipper. Who will fill his boots and get to call heads or tails? 
Rugby writer Steve Hepburn has a quick look at the contenders.

Sam Whitelock

Position: Lock.

Test caps: 108.

Positives: Done it before, top player in his position, calm and composed, vastly experienced, comes from Canterbury.

Negatives: Maybe getting a bit long in the tooth, seeking some Japanese yen, may not have enough gas left in the tank, comes from Canterbury.

Chances: Very hot.

Brodie Retallick

Position: Lock.

Caps: 75.

Positives: On his game is the best in the world, a real follow-me leader, well respected.

Negatives: Picks up a few injuries, may become burdened by the leadership, still young in years.

Chances: Lukewarm.

Beauden Barrett

Position: First five-eighth.

Caps: 73.

Positives: Is the quarterback of the team, a class act when on form, natural fit around people, done it before.

Negatives: Has plenty on his plate, how often is a first five-eighth a captain in a team, may be headed offshore, does not feel like captaincy material.

Chances: Very, very tepid.

Dane Coles

Position: Hooker.

Caps: 60.

Positives: A rampaging player, well liked, matured as a player, has captaincy experience.

Negatives: Injury list longer than a Lime scooter weekend, not sure of his place in starting side, not getting any younger.

Chances: Getting colder by the day.

Sam Cane

Position: Flanker.

Caps: 60.

Positives: Done it before, a top player, in the ideal position to captain the side.

Negatives: Coming back from a very serious injury, other things on his mind, may be usurped in his position.

Chances: Slightly above stone cold.

TJ Perenara

Position: Halfback.

Caps: 55.

Positives: Works hard, leads well round the field, getting better as a player, well respected, good professional.

Negatives: Not sure of a start, too much of an organiser and busybody, finger would get tired from even more pointing he will do in a game.

Chances: Ice.

Aaron Smith

Position: Halfback.

Caps: 82.

Positives: Top player, barks well at his forwards, wiser in years.

Negatives: Never been a captain anywhere, best left to his own devices, chequered history.

Chances: Even Captain Oates would have been warmer.

Rieko Ioane

Position: Wing.

Positives: Captained NZ Schools, certain to start every game, appeals to the younger folk.

Negatives: Remember Stu Wilson from 1983, too young, still plenty of other stuff to do.

Chances: The temperature on Uranus last night.


Position: In the stand, on the field.

Caps: None.

Positives: It's all about the leadership group these days, trainers and medics are on the field every minute of the match, coaches can make calls from the stand.

Negatives: Miss out on those after-match interviews ... um, yes.

Chances: No chance but in modern reality is the biggest chance.

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