Ardie Savea has played down talk of him taking over the All Blacks captaincy after the injury to skipper Sam Cane.
Cane was ruled out for up to six months with a pectoral injury on Thursday, meaning coach Ian Foster will need to find a new leader for three tests against Italy and Fiji in July and August.
Savea is one name that has been thrown into the mix, currently in his first year of leading the Hurricanes in Super Rugby Aotearoa, as well as being part of the All Blacks' leadership group.
The 27-year-old didn't give much away when asked if he wanted the role, and instead turned his attention to the Hurricanes.
"I can see where this is going," Savea joked.
"If I say yes, then it's 'Ardie wants to be captain.'"
"I'm one of the leaders in the team and if I got asked? I'm not sure.
"But I'm not even thinking about the All Blacks. I'm just trying to play well for the 'Canes and lead the boys here."
In 2019, Cane returned to the All Blacks after suffering a broken neck the year before.
The 46-test loose forward is confident his All Blacks teammate will bounce back stronger than ever from another injury setback.
"I know what it's like. It's sad for Sammy and a massive blow for the All Blacks," he says.
"That's our skipper and leader.
"It's unfortunate, but I know with Sammy he's strong, he's been through the trenches before with previous injuries and I know he'll come back strong and better.
"It's a blow for the All Blacks but like life, we need to adjust and move forward."
Savea is focused on his Hurricanes side, who travel north for their clash against the Blues on Saturday.
After picking up their first win of the season against the Highlanders last week, the 'Canes will be out for revenge, following a disappointing 31-16 defeat in the opening round of Super Rugby Aotearoa.
"We've been preparing ourselves for a very tough match this week at Eden Park. It's been a good week, the boys are ready, training hard and looking forward to getting stuck into it."
Join us on Friday at 7:05pm for live updates as the Crusaders host the Highlanders.