No panic over captain Mannering
New Zealand coach Stephen Kearney believes Simon Mannering's ability to perform under pressure made his appointment as captain a "no-brainer".
Mannering, 26, was revealed as Benji Marshall's successor in the captaincy role for this year's World Cup this morning.
Marshall was informed of the decision in a conversation with Kearney earlier this week and was told the switch would allow him to concentrate on improving his form.
"It was an agonising decision on my part and one that I certainly took a great amount of time over," Kearney said.
"And in that process, every time I was thinking about a suitable replacement, Simon kept coming to mind and it was a no-brainer from my point of view.
"He's a well respected individual in the rugby league community; he's played 30 Tests now for us. Every time he plays for the Kiwis, he delivers."
Kearney explained that the decision to replace Marshall had been at the back of his mind for some time but was wary of offending the Tigers star, who he reassured will continue to play an important role within the squad.
"He remains an integral part of what we're about, he's a member of the senior leadership group and his input is still very much valued," Kearney said of the 28-year-old playmaker.
"In terms of his disappointment, he's not going to hide that. He's a big lad and he's overcome hurdles before.
"His focus now is all about performing and doing well so that we can retain the World Cup."
Mannering, who is now in his fourth season as captain of the Warriors in the NRL, received Kearney's offer to take up the job via a phone call on Wednesday.
He was certain that the switch of roles would not cause any sort of conflict between himself and his 'fantastic mate' Marshall.
"I'm not thinking it's going to be too difficult, nothing is going to change too much between me and him," Mannering said.
"He's going to be part of the leadership group in the Kiwis and I'm sure he's going to have just as much input as he did as captain."
NZRL high performance manager Tony Kemp added that the decision to replace Marshall was fully supported by the organisation.
"The big thing for us is that we're up against it this year to retain the World Cup. The Australians are in England at the moment ... they want that cup back," said Kemp
"There's a raft of other decisions that have happened in the previous months that have put us in good stead for that competition."
Mannering will make his debut as captain in a one-off Test against the Kangaroos in April before the side opens their World Cup campaign against Samoa in October.