Michael Hooper named NSW Waratahs captain

by RUGBY.com.au

Wallabies backrower Michael Hooper has been named NSW Waratahs captain.

Hooper will take over from Dave Dennis as the on-field skipper, with Dennis appointed club captain.

It’s not the first time Hooper has been handed the Waratahs captaincy, with the 24-year-old standing in for Dennis on the Waratah’s run to the 2014 title.

Hooper was also one of the youngest Wallabies captains on record, when elevated to the skipper’s role in the middle of 2014 at just 22.

The flanker said he was humbled to take on the club captaincy permanently and paid tribute to Dennis for his influence.

“Growing up in NSW and getting the opportunity to lead NSW is a huge privilege, especially after taking over from Dave Dennis,” he said.

“Dave and I have a great relationship, and the team is culturally really strong.

“changes that have already taken place this year have been taken really well by the group. This will be no different.

Hooper said that united front would help them on the field as much as off in 2016.

“The Waratahs have a fantastic club history. Some of that history has been built by the guys in this team, so they know that only a collective effort will ensure good performances week to week.

Stepping up to the plate will be a new challenge for Hooper, leading a handful of new faces but said he was excited for the new year.

“It’s going to be a learning process for me, it’s a fairly new squad so there’s challenges there, but also excitement around what we can get done on the field.”

NSW Waratahs head coach Daryl Gibson said Hooper would continue to grow in the captaincy post.

“We are extremely fortunate to have an experienced senior group behind them too, with guidance from players like Dave Dennis and (lock) Dean Mumm to assist in leading our team.

Hooper is well-versed in taking on extra responsibility and has proven himself at the highest level, last year becoming the Wallabies player to reach 50 Tests in the shortest amount of time.