Being captain of the All Blacks is essentially an endless quest to earn and maintain the respect of teammates and coaching staff.
It's the only thing that really matters. If an All Blacks captain commands respect, he's more than halfway towards doing a good job.
Probably 80 per cent of the way there and so as Sam Cane prepares to begin his reign as captain, he does so with the certainty that the other 22 men alongside him in Wellington hold him in the highest regard.
Cane has the respect of his teammates. He won it years ago when he turned up at the Chiefs as a fearless 19-year-old whose first game saw him pitted against Richie McCaw.
Cane outplayed McCaw that night in Napier. Some of McCaw's highly experienced, international teammates were so in awe of him in that period that they started stammering when he spoke to them and some even hid when he came their way and yet Cane, baby-faced and barely 100kg, showed not a hint of fear or of being remotely overawed.
Respect for Cane solidified when he made his test debut in 2012. Thrust into the game against Ireland in Christchurch at halftime, he tackled his heart out, scrapped for everything and helped the All Blacks scrape home at the death.
He came into a high pressure test and didn't go missing, which is why the All Blacks elevated him to their leadership group in 2013 when he was only 21 and asked him to captain the side against Namibia at the World Cup when he was just 23.
All of this built respect, as did the way he bounced back from breaking his neck in 2018. He walked off the field in Pretoria despite having cracked vertebrae and made it back to the test arena the following year.
The commitment it took to recover and the courage he showed to play again should never be underestimated.
So all of this has helped him win and build respect but these specific acts have been glued together by his desire to learn and his dedication to improve all aspects of his game. He's openly chasing professional and personal growth.
That's where respect is really built because Cane has become recognised by his peers as the toughest man in New Zealand.
There's nothing showy or individualistic about the way Cane plays. He's selfless and destructive and those he plays with understand the sacrifices he makes so that others can shine.
There's consensus that no one tackles harder or better than Cane. The crunch of some of his tackles is harder to see or appreciate because many of them are in the thick of traffic but look closely, and no ball carrier manages to even get a half-metre further forward when Cane hits them.
He stops people dead in their tracks and hurts them. Not many players in the world game can do that and even fewer can do it with any regularity.
His captaincy will be founded on the quiet but inspiring fury he brings. Like Kieran Read and McCaw before him, Cane's captaincy will be built on the playing example he sets.
He's not a shouter or even much of a talker. Not on the field, anyway as he subscribes to the Sean Fitzpatrick theory that the best way to captain the All Blacks is to be the best player.
He knows that his defensive crunch will inspire more than any speech he could give. He understands that his troops need to see him in the trenches and that success will only come by him demonstrating his ability to sacrifice himself for the cause and lead the physical charge the All Blacks are so determined to launch.
Maybe the paying fan doesn't quite get what Cane brings to the game. Many look at the more athletic and skilled Ardie Savea and say that Cane is not the best player.
But we need to determine a definition for best. Rugby is a collision sport. It has become insanely combative and physical in the last few years and the art of stopping ball runners and shifting ball stealers has become one of the key skills however much it may break the romantics' hearts to hear this.
Cane is the best the All Blacks have in the collision business and its unglamorous and mostly unseen, but critical – invaluable – nevertheless.
The quest to maintain that respect won't ever end for Cane. Just as it can be won, it can be lost but the fact he starts his reign with his peers behind him, is reason to believe he's destined to be a good captain.