Wallabies hooker Stephen Moore is more than prepared to hand over the team's captaincy to Michael Hooper this weekend, beginning the countdown to his final Test.
Moore, who is set to retire from international rugby at the end of 2017, will start against the All Blacks in the Rugby Championship opener in Sydney but the captaincy will be in Hooper’s hands on a permanent basis for the first time.
Though he came off the bench twice in June under Hooper’s captaincy, this is the first time since 2013 that Moore will be in a Wallabies team where he is not the official skipper.
It’s not a transition that worries him in the slightest, though.
“I think it'll be a little bit different in the game,” Moore told the Australian Rugby Union's official website.
“I probably had a taste of that in June as well so I've been working a lot with Hoops and he's absolutely ready to go.
“I've never seen someone more prepared to take this role and to do really well with it.
“I think he's very well-placed to run the team and he's done that really well all week and looking forward to playing out there alongside him.”
The 34-year-old said he couldn’t help but think a little about the fact this would be his final Bledisloe Cup series.
“Every time you play this game you want to win but now there's a finish line, human nature is you do think about that,” explained Moore.
“I haven't spoken about that around the boys. I just want to be focused on the team performance and doing my job really well tomorrow.”
Moore said the Wallabies’ focus has been entirely insular this week, a vital element for their mentality.
“ I think one thing that we try to emphasise is that nothing outside of our environment can influence the result or how we play,” he added.
“We're in complete control of how we go out there and play the game, right down to our preparation and mentally how we approach the game.
“We can control that, that's a big point we've tried to emphasis, particularly with the young guys.”