Rugby: Impressive Sam Cane 'excellent' choice as All Blacks captain - Sir Graham Henry

All Blacks doyen Sir Graham Henry well remembers the day he first met new captain Sam Cane.

The 68-test flanker has edged out veteran Crusaders lock Sam Whitelock as successor to Kieran Read, who retired from the national side after last year's Rugby World Cup.

The Chiefs star is no stranger to captaincy, after leading New Zealand at junior level, as well as three previous tests for the All Blacks.

Henry, who masterminded the All Blacks' 2011 Rugby World Cup victory, has never coached Cane, 28, but has been extremely impressed by his professionalism.

The pair first crossed paths nine years ago, just a few months after the World Cup triumph.

"I did a tour of the franchises just after I left the post as All Blacks coach and I remember vividly he welcomed me to the Chiefs session," Sir Graham has told The AM Show. 

"He was just 18-years-old and even then, I thought how mature he was. I was very impressed by Sam as a young man. 

"I think Sam will be a great captain."

Henry says new coach Ian Foster has chosen a great captain to lead the All Blacks into a new era.

"[Cane's] youngish, in his late 20s, so he has a few years ahead of him yet," he says.

"He's captained the All Blacks before, he's played 60-odd tests, he's a leader from the front and he'll have a great lieutenant in Sam Whitelock, who has played 115 tests. 

"I think he will do very well."

Henry is confident Cane will be a successful leader of Foster's side, given his grounding under two tremendous captains over the course of the last eight years.

"He's got a proven track record and worked with a couple of great captains in recent years in Richie [McCaw] and Kieran [Read]. 

"He's had a couple of good role models and he has experience through captaining the Chiefs. Great decision." 

The All Blacks are still scheduled to play against Wales and Scotland in July, but those tests will almost certainly be called off, because of the COVID-19 pandemic.