From one young All Blacks captain to another

From one young All Blacks captain to another

You may have been shocked when you heard Sam Cane has been handed the All Blacks' captaincy for their next pool match. He certainly was anyway.

At 23, Cane is the fifth youngest to take on the top job. But Story found someone who was even younger and had some sage advice for him.

Only four men have been made captain at a younger age. Sir Wilson Whineray took the honour at 23 years, one month and 13 days. He died years ago.

Two days younger than him was George Aitken, who debuted in 1921. George is also no longer with us.

But the youngest ever captain was named in 1929, his name Herbie Lilburne. He was just 21 years, three months and 27 days old and played against the 1930 Lions. Lilburne too has passed on.

That means just one on that list is still alive – Taine Randell, the youngest All Black captain in the professional era. He was just 21.

We asked him what wisdom he has for Cane.

"The only advice I would give him is it's obviously a great honour, but the best thing he can do is concentrate on being the best player. If he does that the captaincy will be a breeze."

Randell captained the All Blacks 22 times.

"When you won it was the greatest thing on earth, and certainly as captain you took a great deal of satisfaction."

But with great highs often come great lows, and, like Cane, Randell captained in a World Cup. But his campaign didn't go to plan.

"The worst part of being All Black captain to be fair is I didn't appreciate how much other work was involved. You did carry a lot of the weight for the team and if you did lose it was a lonely place."

That's a hell Cane is unlikely to experience against Namibia – a game he says he was just hoping to play in.

This is surely a clue that he is the long-term replacement who will one day sit on King Ritchie's throne.

Story

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