Ardie Savea grew emotional as he reflected on his journey from the son of Samoan immigrants to the new All Blacks captain.
The loose forward was yesterday named as skipper for his side's Bledisloe Cup clash with Australia next Sunday, an elevation that left him "shaking".
Savea, who will play his 53rd test in Perth, takes the place of Sam Whitelock as stand-in captain after the lock was one of three senior players who stayed behind in New Zealand this week to witness the birth of a new child.
Also missing the trip to Australia was halfback Aaron Smith, who captained the side earlier in 2021, and first five Richie Mo'unga.
That left Savea as coach Ian Foster's preferred option to fill the boots of injured fulltime captain Sam Cane.
Reflecting on the honour when speaking to media from across the Tasman, Savea choked back the tears as he explained what it meant to his family.
"To be able to lead such a team, it's out of this world when I think about it," the 27-year-old said. "And to be able to tell Mum and Dad was huge.
"Two people that migrated from Samoa to create a better life for their kids - sorry, I'm getting a bit emotional - to be here for them is pretty special.
"I'm still in awe. It's a team that you dream of as a kid, and being able to lead is amazing. I'm lost for words and really grateful.
"Just to be named in a team was a goal that seemed so far away, but everything happens for a reason and I'm just going to embrace it."
Any change in his role in the side was the last thing on Savea's thoughts when Foster made contact to give him the news.
"I just got a text from Foz and I thought I was in trouble," Savea said. "I was stressing out, wondering, what have I done? I searched the media to see if I'd done anything, but he just sat me down and mentioned it to me. I was literally shaking."
Savea said he intended to lean on the support of newly named vice-captains Brodie Retallick and Beauden Barrett, a senior pair who would help to calm any pre-match nerves next weekend.
"I'm nervous but I'm excited as well, and I know I've got great leaders around me that I can lean on," he said.
"It's amazing having those two lads right beside me. Guzz [Retallick] brings a lot of experience and fire and Baz [Barrett] is just cool, calm and collected, and he's controlling our game over here.
"It's amazing to lean on them. I'm kind of new to this and sometimes doubt myself, but I know it's a calling for such a time, so I'll lean on them a lot."
Asked to describe his leadership style, Savea said there would be little to alter from his normal approach, especially since he had already experienced what was required of a captain when he led the Hurricanes during this year's Super Rugby season.
"A big thing is just being myself and leading the way I usually lead, which is just trying to do it through actions," he said. "I'm not a quiet dude but I usually go about things in a quiet way, so I won't change much."