Apologies if this is blasphemous – to the religions of Catholicism or the All Blacks – but when it comes to the anointed, being named New Zealand captain is the rugby union equivalent of becoming Pope.
And, in this juncture of history, Sam Cane does not merely have big robes to fill – he has veritable marquees. They are the type of marquees filled by thousands of hospitality-goers before Tests at Eden Park, debating whether Cane can live up to his immediate predecessors: Kieran Read and Richie McCaw. Gulp.
Regardless of the might of those forebears, Cane, 28, is starting at a disadvantage anyway. When the white smoke rose from All Blacks HQ on Tuesday, there was a measure of surprise – if not a whiff of controversy – that Cane had been selected ahead of Sam Whitelock. There was none of that for McCaw and Read.
Their accessions were so expected that no Kiwi even bothered looking for smoke and if they had spotted some, they would have figured it was only Cory Jane having a sly puff out the back.
Furthermore, Cane has months and months – and we can only pray it is not years and years – in which he will have to justify his new position in words and not deeds. Why head coach Ian Foster did not wait until he at least possessed a realistic playing itinerary should be beyond everyone's comprehension.
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As it is, Cane must now suffer the interminable mutterings of his appointment to what some might refer "The Impossible Job". Except it is possible, because McCaw and Read proved it was, setting ridiculous standards. McCaw, 110 times as captain, 97 wins; Reed, 52 occasions with 43 victories. Those are tombstone stats.
It was not always thus. Granted, the All Blacks boasted legendary leaders such as Sean Fitzpatrick and Sir Wilson Whineray, but their reigns were three decades apart and while totems including Graham Mourie and Buck Shelford excelled, their dynasties were not consecutive. McCaw and Read did it back-to-back, like Shankly and Paisley, Augustus and Tiberius, Connery and Moore.
One seamlessly rolled into the other, sending the New Zealand captaincy soaring into a yet more mythical status. It is why the role does not come with a job description anymore, but with scrolls carried down from the peaks. Over the top? Perhaps. But so much of New Zealand's identity in this golden age is wrapped up in their on-field commander.
So, the question must be asked: is Cane able? There is no doubting his courage, that is for sure. Less than two years ago, he lay prostrate on the Pretoria pitch. "Rugby goes out of your mind pretty quickly when they tell you you've broken your neck," he said.
Cane underwent a spinal fusion not too dissimilar to that of Tiger Woods, but his own comeback was glaringly dissimilar in the fact Woods did not have 20st beasts trying to flatten him whilst walking up Augusta's 18th. Cane returned to the country's shirt, when most believed he was done. Such a relentless character has no doubt seduced Foster.
Except, illustrious sporting captaincy can no longer feature one facet.
McCaw and Read helped cement the benchmark which means you cannot simply be an inspirational figure like a Mike Brearley; you have to be an undoubted great like an Ian Botham as well. New Zealand can bizarrely claim only four IRB World Players of the Year and McCaw and Read are two of them. Ferocious men, they made them bleed by example.
Cane's favoured position is openside and he has Ardie Savea, New Zealand's current player of the year, in competition for that berth. Foster is adamant the pair can be "accommodated", but that was something that was never needed for McCaw and Read; they were the unmovable mansions on Empire Street.
Sam Cane: the next act on stage after the Beatles and the Stones.