Current All Blacks captain Sam Whitelock says his relationship with regular skipper Kieran Read has made life easier while filling in in the role.
Whitelock was named by coach Steve Hansen to lead the side in the three-Test series against France with Read still recovering from back surgery.
The lock says there's plenty of similarities between them.
"Reado and I have known each other a long time and we're good mates so that makes it pretty easy," he said.
"We have that understanding on where and what we need each other one to do so it's actually really easy bouncing between the two."
Whitelock said his connection with Read is strengthened thanks to their long stand together at the Crusaders.
"Obviously we're both forwards so we're pretty keen for the forwards to hang on to the ball," he said.
"We've played together so much we know what the other is thinking and what they want to do."