All Black Ben Smith will wear the captain's armband for the first time since his schooldays when he leads the Highlanders in their pre-season match against the Waratahs in Newcastle on Friday night.
His most recent captaincy experience was when he captained the Kings High School first XV in Dunedin as a halfback.
"I was right in amongst it then so it was quite easy," he said on Wednesday.
Smith, 27, who has scored 14 tries in 27 tests for the All Blacks and was their outstanding back last year, said he did not expect any particular problems in leading the Highlanders from fullback.
"There will be challenges from fullback but we've got good leaders in the forwards and at halfback so they'll be my eyes and ears."
No.8 Nasi Manu has been named co-captain but he will miss the Waratahs game as he tries to overcome a pectoral muscle injury.
Smith, who played on the wing for the All Blacks last year and then moved to centre when Conrad Smith was not available for the northern hemisphere tour, said there had been no request from the New Zealand coaches about where he should play.
He was happy playing fullback, wing or centre.
It is a big year for the Highlanders as they seek to bounce back from a disastrous 2013 campaign in which they won only three matches and finished second bottom.
It is also a big season for Smith who was the busiest elite player in New Zealand last year after playing in all 14 tests for the All Blacks and all 16 games for the Highlanders.
"I've got away to Central Otago and done some fishing, boating and waterskiing. It's always good to get a bit of sun and relax a bit. Now I'm refreshed and ready to go for another season of Super Rugby."