New Highlanders co-captain Nasi Manu says that he won't be short of inspiration when he assumes a leadership role with the Dunedin-based Super Rugby franchise.
Manu came through the Canterbury and Crusaders environment and says that All Blacks captain Richie McCaw has been a great role model for him.
"When I first started playing for the Crusaders he really helped me out and especially Mose Tuali'i," Manu told Sportal.
"I guess what I got from them was confidence and to back my own ability and feeling comfortable to talk in the team environment.
"I've learnt quite a lot over my years and been fortunate enough to play among those great leaders," he said.
The early objectives for the Highlanders are to ensure that they have a good pre-season and for the team to get up to speed with the game plan. They also want to build the 'brothership bond' as it will be needed for the Highlanders to do well.
After being named co-captain Manu said that he is looking forward to playing with more responsibility which will help him grow as a player.
Manu added that he was honoured to be co-captain with Ben Smith.
The Highlanders had a difficult Super Rugby season in 2013 but they have acquired some experienced players Manu says that he is excited about the team's potential.
"It's awesome knowing what so of weather we're going to get every game and I guess it's exciting because we know we can play whatever game plan we want," he said.
The 2013 Rugby season was a mixed one for Manu as he was injured in the first match of the season which caused him to miss the rest of the Super Rugby season but then he came back and won another ITM Cup with Canterbury.
"I'm still quite fresh from missing all that rugby so I can't wait," he said.
There was no shortage of expectation for the Highlanders in 2013 given the level of experience and talent in their squad and after the disappointment of 2013 expectation is unlikely to be as high in 2014.
"I guess what the crowd will expect from us is 100 percent work rate. We'll do our best and I'm sure we'll do a lot better than this year," he said.
"We are going to have to bring the team in tighter. When you have been through those hard times it does naturally bring you closer together as a team," he said.