As a senior member of a pack missing the experience and talents of Sam Whitelock and Sam Cane for the first test of what All Blacks head coach Ian Foster has quite rightly described as a "mammoth" tour, Codie Taylor's value is rising as inexorably as the price of an average Auckland house.
Whether the experienced hooker's form is rewarded with the captaincy in the absence of Whitelock, whose trip to Perth has been delayed due to family commitments, and Cane, a long-term absentee due to a chest injury, remains to be seen, but it must be a contest between Taylor and Ardie Savea.
The Herald have reported that Savea is likely to get the nod, but in this case the Crusader is probably the right man for the job.
It's not necessarily down to form, although Taylor has been playing well – he was outstanding in the second Bledisloe Cup test against the Wallabies which clinched the series win, but so too was No 8 Savea. In terms of performance, they can't really be split.
Both are excellent leaders too – Savea has the captaincy job at the Hurricanes and Taylor has done the job often enough for the Crusaders. Savea is probably the more outspoken off the pitch and is unafraid to make a stand on social media. Taylor is quieter in the mould of Whitelock and before him Kieran Read, another Crusader.
For what will be a difficult assignment at a sold-out Optus Stadium on Sunday week – a "dead" Bledisloe Cup rubber but one in which valuable Rugby Championship points are at stake, at a place where the All Blacks tripped up badly in 2019 - the balance Foster must strike is in selecting the individual who will lead the team astutely without it unduly affecting his game.
This is what should get Taylor the nod because the leadership should sit a little more lightly on the shoulders of someone completely at ease with his core roles as a senior member of a team and positional unit also comprising Asafo Aumua and Samisoni Taukei'aho. Dane Coles, again troubled by calf problems, has not made the trip.
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Savea has previously hinted at a frustration with being shifted around the loose trio. One suspects he would prefer to wear the No 7 jersey, but is comfortable at No 8 and, either way, would rather concentrate on one position rather than spread himself across two or three. With Akira Ioane coming of age in the No 6 jersey recently in the two Eden Park tests and Dalton Papalii doing a solid job at openside, then No 8 it is for Savea.
Indeed, so well have those three been complementing each other on the field recently, there is a good argument to be made that Foster shouldn't tinker with this element of his team given there will be plenty of changes elsewhere with Richie Mo'unga and Aaron Smith two other late arrivals to Australia and therefore unavailable for the test.
Whitelock, who took his game to a new level at the Crusaders when he assumed the captaincy from Read, received praise from Foster for his decision to go for the attacking lineout against the Wallabies in the second Bledisloe Cup test, rather than the posts, a decision which paid off with a try for Sevu Reece.
Taylor has similar instincts, or perhaps that should read decision-making skills. It would be hard to quantify how much he has learned from Whitelock's leadership over the last five years but one thing is certain: this test against the Wallabies, coming as it does before four tests in four weeks against Argentina and South Africa and before a trip to the USA and Europe, two places where Covid will completely change the way the All Blacks operate off the pitch, will be one of their toughest on tour.
The captaincy is a crucial role because they'll need all the good decision-making they can get. Taylor as skipper will provide that and it might even serve to take his game to another level in the process.