Scott Robertson hints at new All Blacks captain after Sam Cane's retirement

Scott Robertson hints at new All Blacks captain after Sam Cane's retirement

Scott Robertson has remained coy about the next All Blacks captain but admits that progress is being made over Sam Cane's successor.

The head coach is searching for his next skipper following the announcement that the incumbent would be retiring from Test rugby after the 2024 season.

Robertson, who took over from Ian Foster as the New Zealand head coach following the 2023 Rugby World Cup, was always likely to change his captain, but this has rubberstamped that decision.

Ardie Savea and Scott Barrett are thought to be the frontrunners for the role, which will be confirmed in late June when he names his squad after the Super Rugby Pacific campaign has concluded.

"There's been conversations that have been had," he told reporters. "And discussions, with players. Yes, there has been. That's all I can say.

"It will be announced when we name the team. (We need) someone the players will follow. Lead on the field. They have to start. They have to be world-class in their position and someone the players respect."

Although Cane will not be leading the team this year, the 32-year-old has still made himself eligible for the All Blacks in 2024.

He returns from a short-term sabbatical ahead of the mid-year Tests and will be available until the end of the campaign before he moves back to Japanese side Suntory Sungoliath on a three-year deal.

However, according to Robertson, there is no guarantee that the great openside, who is just five caps shy of joining the 100 club, will be selected.

"Like anything, it's on form. He's coming back from an injury, he's got to perform to be involved with the All Blacks. He knows that," he said.

"He's been involved with leadership meetings already. And he has still got that personality and leadership qualities.

"He knows what to say at the right time. So he's been valuable. Look, as we know, if you've played 95 Test matches you have been around haven't you? You know what it takes. He's available this year if he performs."