Star first-five Beauden Barrett will serve as the All Blacks' de-facto captain in the lead-up to next weekend's match against the Barbarians at Twickenham, with Kieran Read taking a week off.
Read, along with veterans such as Sam Whitelock and Dane Coles, has stayed in New Zealand for an extra week of family time before joining the end-of-year tour squad.
Vice-captain Ben Smith, meanwhile, is on sabbatical.
The 59-Test Barrett would thus fulfil Read's captaincy duties throughout the week in London, but wouldn't necessarily lead the side against the Baabaas.
That decision would depend on the make-up of Steve Hansen's matchday XXIII.
Having endured a busy season with the Hurricanes and All Blacks, Barrett may again watch on from the stands after missing the side's third Bledisloe Cup Test loss.
Lima Sopoaga and Damian McKenzie are alternatives at first-five.
"He's got the No.10 on his back which is the main computer in a team, they tend to touch the ball more than anybody else and make more decisions than anybody else, (so) instead of talking to Read he'll just talk to himself," Hansen told reporters.
Read had spoken with the team before their departure from Auckland on Friday, Hansen said, and outlined his expectations for the entire tour.
He'll arrive in London just before Sunday morning's match (NZT), and then be eligible for selection for the following week's Test against France in Paris.
Sam Cane - who has twice captained the All Blacks - is present in the UK, while Jerome Kaino, Aaron Smith and Ryan Crotty will pick up the leadership slack.