All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has confirmed No.8 Kieran Read will lead the side this year following the recent retirement of Richie McCaw.

Read's appointment comes as the All Blacks prepare for life without their former skipper and five other senior players, five-eighth Dan Carter, second-five Ma'a Nonu, hooker Keven Mealamu, centre Conrad Smith and prop Tony Woodcock.

Hansen is confident Read's previous experiences in recent seasons of leading the All Blacks in McCaw's absence will hold him in good stead and ensure a smooth leadership transition.

"Reado's had experience already as captain nine times and whilst it will be a new experience to be there fulltime, at least he's had a taste of it," Hansen told Radio Sport.


"We have known for quite some time that five of the guys are going to be leaving, with a 1000 test matches between them. We've known for a while and we've planned for that."

Hansen also believes McCaw's openside deputy, Waikato Chiefs flanker Sam Cane, will slot into the number seven role comfortably.

The 24-year-old has played 30 tests since his debut in 2012 and is viewed as a leader of the future, after enjoying a taste of the captaincy duties when he filled in for McCaw in last year's World Cup pool match against Namibia.

"Sam Cane's had a taste of test footy and he's raring to go," said Hansen. "So if we're going in with all of those things brand new then it would be a lot different but I've got a lot of confidence in the people that are going to step up."