MACQUARIE Uni North Harbour Rays will be led through their 2015 Buildcorp National Rugby Championship campaign by hooker Luke Holmes.
Head coach Geoff Townsend announced that the Warringah Rats rake would show the way for the Rays in their second season.
“Luke was one of the guys who helped to create the culture that we established last year and this is an honour that he richly deserves,” Townsend said.
“He ticks a lot of the boxes when a coach goes through what he wants in his captain and I am looking forward to working closely with him again.
“Luke has been at the heart of the good things that have been happening at Warringah both on and off the field and he will take them through to the Rays once his commitments there with the Shute Shield have finished.”
Holmes takes over from first year skipper Greg Peterson who is now preparing with the USA Eagles for the Pacific Nations Cup and is well in line for a spot in their Rugby World Cup 2015 campaign.
Holmes said he was honoured to be given the captaincy in what is a vital season for the Rays.
“I’ve got to say that I’m super excited about lies ahead for the Rays this year,” an upbeat Holmes said.
“We’re aware of what lies ahead after the experience of the first year of the franchise and the competition and that’s important.
“This season is a massive opportunity for not only myself but for the entire playing and coaching group and I can’t wait for the games to roll around.
“Last year we got to know each other, but it’s a different matter playing well together and, I feel we are on the verge of that now.
“You could tell from our first training session which was held in the week of the big Manly v Warringah derby that there is a certain familiarity that you need in a good team.”
Holmes’ Rats will be involved in the Shute Shield finals, as will the Manly Marlins, in coming weeks.
Gordon and Northern Suburbs finished outside the Shute Shield top six and their players will click into Rays preparation mode this week.
The draw will see the Rays open their season on Saturday, August 22 at Manly Oval with a family-friendly afternoon fixture against the Sydney Stars.
This game will have a 3pm kick-off and plans are in train for a number of major promotions in and around the game including having the great Sydney universities teams playing for a perpetual trophy.
The first game at Rat Park will be on Saturday, September 26 against the University of Canberra Vikings. This game will also have a family-friendly 3pm kickoff.
The other game at Manly Oval will be a broadcast game against the Melbourne Rising on Thursday, September 3 at 7.30pm while Rat Park will feature as the venue for the game against Queensland Country on Saturday, October 10 with a 3pm kickoff.