Luke Braid has been named captain of the Blues for 2014.
The decision was revealed at the Blues squad announcement breakfast at Eden Park this morning in front of members and sponsors, and while Braid was overseas with the Maori All Blacks, he said it was a huge honour to captain the side.
“It means a lot to me being named captain of the Blues,” Braid said.
“The Blues have a proud history so watching them as a kid, being able to play for them and now to be given the opportunity to captain the side is pretty awesome,” he said.
The 25-year-old flanker had a taste of captaining the Blues in 2012 in the absence of the injured Keven Mealamu, and when head coach Sir John Kirwan approached him with the proposal at the end of last season, it didn’t take long for Braid to accept.
“With the support group around me, guys in the leadership group last year like James Parsons and Jackson Willison and then with Jerome Kaino and Tony Woodcock coming back, plus with Graham Henry helping out with the leadership group I think it’s going to be a lot easier,” he said.
Kirwan said Braid was the right man to lead the Blues forward in 2014.
“We just think he’s the type of guy we need from an attitude point of view,” Kirwan said.
“He’s not scared to drive high quality at training, he’s not scared of anyone so he’ll challenge people including the coaching staff and I think the consistency of his rugby is great for all of us. I think he’s really going to grow into that role and I know he’s really looking forward to the challenge.”
Braid believed his leadership skills would develop as the season progressed but that it all started with him playing to his very best week in, week out.
“I just need to play well. Last year I was in the leadership group and that was the main thing that was put forward to us by the coaches – that first and foremost all the leadership group need to be playing well.
“Most of the games I think the boys stood up and did that so more or less just playing well and I think I’ll probably just develop during the year when it comes to talking to the boys and getting a message across to them.”
Braid’s aspirations are simple: to win the Super Rugby competition in 2014
“Everyone wants to win the competition. I think if everyone buys in and gets everything right any team can win the Super Rugby competition so we definitely want to try and win it.”