Wallabies hooker Stephen Moore is more than prepared to hand over 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 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,” he said.
“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 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,” he said.
“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.”
The Wallabies’ focus has been entirely insular this week, a vital element for their mentality, Moore said.
“ 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 said.
“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.”
Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has opted for Moore over Tatafu Polota-Nau in the starting spot, a move he said was the right fit for the match.
“It's a bit of horses for courses there and also I'd say they're one hooker in themselves,” he said.
“They know the roles and responsibilities throughout the game so we decided that starting with Stephen had its benefits for us and finishing with Taf (was) the same.
“They understand, they're in sync with what their roles are throughout the game.”
The Wallabies take on the All Blacks on Saturday night, kicking off at 8pm AEST LIVE on FOX SPORTS, Network Ten, WIN and via RUGBY.com.au RADIO. Buy tickets here.