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Hansen tips big game from ABs skipper

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 10/06/2016

Kieran Read of the All Blacks walks onto the field during the New Zealand All Blacks Captain's Run at Eden Park. © Phil Walter/Getty Images Kieran Read of the All Blacks walks onto the field during the New Zealand All Blacks Captain's Run at Eden Park. Coach Steven Hansen is tipping a big game from Kieran Read on his elevation to the All Blacks captain.

Read will lead the team out for the first time since taking over from the retired Richie McCaw, when he runs out at Eden Park on Saturday night for the opening Test against Wales.

Hansen says the 84-Test No.8 has exuded plenty of excitement in the build-up to the match.

"He has been waiting, and waiting patiently, and he has been a very good lieutenant to Rich and done a great job in supporting him," he said.

"Now it's his turn to step up and I think the old adage of 'if you're going to be a leader, you have to play well' rings true with him and I think you will see him play very well."

Hansen said Read, who also captains the Crusaders in Super Rugby, was developing his own leadership style.

"He's slowly building into that," he said.

"He's not the finished article by any stretch of the imagination, but no captain is. You keep learning as you go.

"It's a little bit like being a coach. You're always learning and trying to develop. As long as he's flexible in his thinking that will happen."

Read, 30, has stood in as Test skipper on nine occasions.

He is looking to soak up the atmosphere in his first experience as the regular captain, but is also focused on performing his job within the side.

"I know it's another chance to put on the black jersey," he said.

"I get pretty excited when these things come about, so I'm looking forward to first and foremost doing my bit for the team."

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