Wynne Gray is a Herald columnist

Super Rugby: Who are the leaders of each franchise?

Cory Jane will play an important leadership role at the hurricanes. Photo / Getty
Cory Jane will play an important leadership role at the hurricanes. Photo / Getty

Leadership, direction and game management are golden markers for every Super Rugby side.

Captains guide those areas around games but they need lieutenants as well, experienced players to help them channel others who are finding their way in the professional rugby series.

The NZ Herald pinpoints a back and forward who loom as strong lieutenants for their team captains. These are the Mentors.

Blues: Rene Ranger and Tanerau Latimer: Both men have returned from offshore action and have oodles of experience. Ranger can go quiet but he needs to guide the youngsters while Latimer is a calm communicator with buckets of knowledge about how sides win this tournament.

Chiefs: Stephen Donald and Michael Leitch: Beaver and Reach-what a combo for coach Dave Rennie and his crew to use as backup for their on-field leaders.

They've been through most situations in rugby and are players who have over-achieved through hard work.

Hurricanes: Cory Jane and Ben May: Sometimes some off the wall helps and Jane brings that in dollops of homespun philosophy while May has been round the block, dealt with injury and keeps coming back.

Crusaders: Ryan Crotty and Wyatt Crockett: Out in midfield Crotty can bring out the best of dangerous attackers around him while up front, Crockett has trundled past 150 games, is still in great shape and is always good for a yarn.

Highlanders: Aaron Smith and Alex Ainley: Halfback Smith is the most experienced outside co-captain Ben Smith and chirps all game on the run. He's a natural boss while Ainley has been playing top footy since 2006 and will bring life experiences to balance the youthful exuberance.

- NZ Herald

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