Crusaders flanker Matt Todd will lead the side in the absence of Kieran Read at the beginning of this year’s Super Rugby season.
Todd, who has two caps for the All Blacks, is highly respected by the Crusaders’ management and players.
The openside will lead the Crusaders in their opening three matches against the Rebels, Highlanders and Chiefs.
Read and Whitelock are on so-called ‘mini sabbaticals’, part of their contracts, to remain fresh ahead of the Rugby World Cup.
“Matt Todd is going to captain the team in Kieran Read’s absence,” Blackadder told Stuff.
“He was our player of the year last year. He’s been involved all the way though our pre-season which we thought was pretty important for our group.
“He is a guy that is respected by everyone in our environment which includes our All Blacks.
“You’ve got to be able to command a spot and be able to walk the talk. We see it as a good opportunity for him to lead the team.
“He has fantastic leadership skills. If anyone has earned the right, it’s him.”