The All Blacks centre Conrad Smith says he was a reluctant leader when he first graduated to the status of senior squad member but he says his time as the Hurricanes captain has helped him find his voice.
The 30-year-old has long been the defensive general in the backline, making sure the players around him know who's covering who and where they need to be.
However he says he's found it a tougher time trying to become a leader at trainings and giving advice to the younger members of the team.
Now though Smith, who's a certainty to be named in coach Steve Hansen's starting XV to take on Ireland at Eden Park, says he's relishing his role in a squad brimming with young talent.
The All Blacks team to play Ireland in Auckland on Saturday night will be named Thursday morning.