Rugby: Former All Blacks captain Kieran Read defends under-fire successor Sam Cane

Former All Blacks captain Kieran Read has leapt to the defence of successor Sam Cane, before the new skipper who is under fire before he's even had a chance to lead them into a new era.

The Chiefs' winless Super Rugby Aotearoa campaign has prompted questions around Cane's ability, both as a player and as a captain.

Cane has had to bear the brunt of the criticism for the Chiefs' poor form, some going as far as questioning whether he's the right man to lead the All Blacks.

"He hasn't even had an opportunity to lead the team," Read tells Newshub.

For eight years, Read played alongside Cane in a black jersey and is convinced he's the man for the job.

"He really helped me out over the last few years and definitely has the leadership strength," Read adds. "He's got the respect of all the boys in the team moving forward."

And he's certainly got the mana within the Chiefs.

"He's one of the greatest leaders that I've ever had the pleasure to play under and he continues to lead from the front," says halfback Brad Weber.

Assistant coach Tabai Matson echoes Weber's sentiments.

"Sam Cane is an unbelievable leader and definitely the best guy to run that ship," says Matson.

Even former teammate Liam Messam is sure the All Blacks have got the right guy.

"I've seen him grow from a young kid, a young man-child when he first came into the Chiefs to the All Blacks captain now," says Messam. "The way he's leading is awesome to see." 

Cane's reputation as a warrior will soon come to the fore, Read believes.

"He's got where he is now because of what he's done so far… backing his own style of leadership," he says.

Watch the full story above