All Blacks loose-forward Ardoe Savea has been named captain of the Hurricanes for the upcoming Super Rugby Aotearoa competition,
Savea, who has been capped 99 times for the Wellington-based franchise, will lead the side out for the first time against the Blues on February 27.
The 27-year-old says being named captain of the Hurricanes is a dream come true and an honour.
"No not at all, just being apart of the Hurricanes was special enough but to be able to lead the team this year it's an honour and something I'll hold close to me heart," Savea says. "This is getting out of my comfort zone.
"But I feel like this is a time to step up and I've got a lot of great leaders beside me, as well as Colesy, who I've been observing.
"I'll try do the best I can as a player and a leader and I'm really looking forward to it.
The 27-year-old is still working on his leadership style but will take all the earnings from the leaders he's had in the past and sees his style being a follow-me routine.
"Having Colesy and TJ, what I admire about them is they’re men of action," he says. "They lead through their actions and that’s the biggest way to lead and to show the brothers and to earn respect.
"That’s what I’d like to do too as I’m not a man of many words."
"I’m also big on connection and family, which are part of our values. We've got great leaders who can lead on and off the field, so for me, it's about bringing each individual's strengths out."
After being approached by head coach Jason Holland to take on the challenge Savea was initially sceptical about it but new it was a great challenge for himself.
"Holland approached me and had Dane Coles talk to me, and at first I was like na playing it down, but I new deep down in my heart this season, this time in my career I think it's time to step up and challenge myself and try something I'm not used to, but it's time to lead," he says.
Not only will it be a special occasion to lead his side out for the first time against the Blues in round one on February 27 in Wellington, but it will also be his 100th match for the Hurricanes.
Savea made his debut for the Hurricanes in 2013 against the Waratahs and has since established himself as one of the most dynamic loose-forwards in world rugby.
A World Cup winner with the All Blacks in 2015, Savea was also part of the Hurricanes side that won their only Super Rugby title in 2016.
Coach Jason Holland says Savea has inspiring leadership qualities.
"Ardie has been an integral part of our club for a long time and has the complete respect of everyone," he says.
"He has played a major part in leading this team in his own way for the last few years and the boys will be desperate to follow him in the way they have followed Colesy and TJ in recent years."
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