Hurricanes captain Ardie Savea has played down talk of him potentially taking the All Blacks captaincy in the absence of the injured Sam Cane.
Cane has been sidelined for at least four months with a serious pectoral injury, meaning he is likely to miss scheduled All Blacks Tests in July.
Savea described the loss of his fellow flanker from the black jersey as a “massive blow”.
“It’s unfortunate but I know with Sammie, he’s strong and he’s been through the trenches before with previous injuries so I’m sure he’ll come back stronger and better.
“It’s a blow for the All Blacks but just like life we’ve got to adjust and just move forward.”
Cane’s absence will mean a reshuffle in All Blacks leadership, with Savea a prime candidate to take the armband.
But he said it was not something he was concerned with right now, and that the decision was with Ian Foster and the All Black coaches.
“I’m one of the leaders in the team – if I got asked [to be captain] then I don’t know.
“I’m not really thinking about the All Blacks to be honest. I’m just trying to play well for the Canes and lead the boys here.”
The Hurricanes take on the Blues at Eden Park on Saturday, a Super Rugby Aotearoa opening round rematch.
The Blues won that fixture 31-16, and the Hurricanes will be hoping for a different result this time.
“We know how it felt after losing a couple games, so we know the Blues will be firing after the result last week,” Savea said.
“We know what’s coming…we’ve got to be on point this weekend.
“If there’s any moments we switch off or give them a sniff then we’ll be punished.”