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Heir To The Throne: The Three Candidates To Replace Richie McCaw For New Zealand

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 20: Sam Cane of the New Zealand All Blacks runs in a try during the 2015 Rugby World Cup Pool C match between New Zealand and Argentina at Wembley Stadium on September 20, 2015 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

With six months after passing since Richie McCaw decided to hang up the boots after completing a historic double at the 2015 World Cup, many pundits deemed this post World Cup period to be a transition period for the All Blacks, with many big names leaving New Zealand rugby.

However,  what with the current form of the New Zealand franchises in this year’s Super Rugby campaign it seems that hardly any transition period has been experienced, a large reason for their run of good form boils down to new leaders stepping up in the absence of past greats, namely, a new generation of openside flankers who are chomping at the bit to fill the void left behind by the ex-Crusader.

Heir Apparent:

during a New Zealand All Blacks media session on September 22, 2015 in London, United Kingdom.

Since Sam Cane broke onto the scene making his All Black debut at the tender age of twenty, he has been heavily tipped as the natural successor to the 148 timed capped great, possessing many of the same traits as McCaw, his strong leadership qualities, breakdown awareness and strength with ball in hand have meant that the Chiefs star can fit seamlessly into the void left by McCaw.

Having already captained New Zealand during the 2015 World Cup against Namibia, Cane will be no doubt be looking to cement his legacy in the black jersey over the coming decade.

Newcomer:

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - FEBRUARY 26: Blake Gibson of the Blues is tackled by Hayden Parker of the Highlanders during the round one Super Rugby match between the Blues and the Highlanders at Eden Park on February 26, 2016 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)

After an injury ravaged 2015 and now with the retirement of New Zealand’s most decorated star, fewer players have shown more hunger and drive this season than Blake Gibson.

The Auckland Blues star announced himself on the scene from the very first game of the Super Rugby where he scored a mesmerizing try, brutally dismantling All Black Ben Smith to cross over the whitewash. With excellent breakdown ability and an insatiable hunger the 20-year old will be one to watch for the coming seasons.

Sevens Star:

WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND - MAY 16: Ardie Savea of the Hurricanes in action during the round 14 Super Rugby match between the Hurricanes and the Chiefs at Westpac Stadium on May 16, 2015 in Wellington, New Zealand. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

Another openside flanker who has impressed this season is 22 year-old Ardie Savea. The Hurricanes openside offers a strong attacking element, with devastating power with ball in hand and at the breakdown he is capable of causing serious damage.

Savea has been questioned over his size and doubts remain whether he possesses the necessary bulk at international level, his commitment to the New Zealand 7s may also limit his chances with the union squad.

However his natural talent cannot be denied and his superior athleticism makes him a significant attacking force in any team. Definitely one to watch for the future.

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Author: The PA Team

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