Super Rugby Exeter for Waratahs club captain

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

NSW Waratahs veteran Dave Dennis will be heading to the Premiership after the 2016 Super Rugby season, on a three-year-deal

The Waratahs club captain will head to England after a decade at the NSW franchise and follows in the footsteps of Waratahs teammate Dean Mumm in making the switch.

And Mumm might have played a part in helping the deal over the line, Exeter coach Rob Baxter said.

“I’m not going to run away from the fact that Dean Mumm  gave him a glowing reference as well because that kind of thing is very important for us,” he said on the Chiefs website.

“When you look at the make-up of our squad, he’s got the right experience we want to recruit and the right leadership qualities which will be important because we have got some young players within the squad that we need to bring through.

“At the same time, we have international players who will be with us and not be with us at certain times, so having that good core of quality players throughout the squad will be very important to us if we want to be at the right end of the table over an extended period.”

Michael Hooper has replaced Dave Dennis as Waratahs team captain. Photo: Getty Images

Exeter will be hoping that Dennis can have a similar impact to Mumm in England, with the latter having captained the club before returning to NSW in 2015.

Dennis said he was excited for a new challenge.

“It was a really hard decision because I’ve been here my whole career, I’ve spent ten years here,” he said.

“I could easily stay here until my career ended but I’ve always wanted to challenge myself in a different environment.

Dennis was last week replaced as team captain by burgeoning leader Michael Hooper and said the comfortable transition had made his decision easier.

“I’m not getting any younger and, with the transition of Michael into the captaincy, I’m really comfortable with the way I’ll be leaving the club at the end of the year, and I think that’s really important.

The capped Wallaby said he wanted to get the announcement out of the way ahead of the season, with the Waratahs first trial on Saturday.

“I wanted to announce this early in the year so it wasn’t a distraction for myself or anyone else,” he said.

“Now I can just put that aside and really focus on what we want to achieve this year as a team, which for me is the number one priority."

Dennis will join Wallabies prop Greg Holmes at the Chiefs in the 2016-17 season, among a growing contingent of Aussies in the Premiership.