Kiwis coach Brian McClennan has named Ruben Wiki as the team's captain for the upcoming Gillette Tri-Nations series.
The Kiwis take on Australia in the opening game of the tournament on Saturday October 15 at Sydney's Telstra Stadium.
McClennan said he was very happy to have Wiki leading his team through what will be a tough series.
"Ruben is one of the greatest players I've ever had the pleasure of working with," he said.
"He is a player who leads by example. He may not have a lot to say but when he speaks he does it with authority and mana.
"His leadership skills are outstanding but he is also a very humble person and that makes him an easy pick for captain."
McClennan admitted the team has a lot of talented leaders with the likes of Stacey Jones, Nigel Vagana, Paul Rauhihi, David Kidwell and Nathan Cayless.
"These players all work together and that's the key for us," he said.
"They're showing the way for our younger players."
The Kiwis have called up Melbourne winger Jake Webster to their 21-man squad after Iosia Soliola was withdrawn with a knee injury that was picked up by the Kiwis medical staff after the team's first training session in Sydney on Saturday.
McClennan said the decision to withdraw Soliola was difficult but it was the best for the young star's long-term career prospects.
"Iosia has a big future ahead of him," he said.
"If he keeps playing the way he has in 2005 he'll get another chance to represent New Zealand pretty soon."
KIWIS FANS CAN EMAIL THE TEAM AT: [email protected]
More info: www.tri-nations.com.au Discussion: Tri-Nations Forum at http://forums.leagueunlimited.com/forumdisplay.php?f=130Like