New Zealand coach Steve Hansen has confirmed Kieran Read will captain the All Blacks this year.
The 85-Test No.8 takes over from Richie McCaw, who retired after New Zealand won back-to-back Rugby World Cups late last year.
Speaking to media after winning coach of the year at Thursday's Halberg Awards in Auckland, Hansen said McCaw's leadership and sense of self-belief under pressure would be hard to replace.
"We have known for quite some time that five of the guys are going to be leaving. We've known for a while and we've planned for that," he told Radio Sport.
But the All Blacks leadership group which had developed under McCaw's captaincy would be a huge benefit for Read.
"They have that sense of belief, and that's the thing that Reado when he comes in as skipper will have to exude - that self-confidence under pressure," Hansen told the Paul Henry Show.
Read has scored 20 Test tries since making his debut against Scotland in 2008, and has captained the All Blacks nine times in McCaw's absence.
He will also captain the Crusaders in this year's Super Rugby competition when he returns from an extended break.