Western Force recruit and flyhalf Jono Lance has been named captain of the CSU NSW Country Eagles for the 2015 Buildcorp National Rugby Championship season.
After consulting his coaching staff and a number of senior players, coach Darren Coleman made the announcement to the squad yesterday, just four days out from the CSU Country Eagles 2015 NRC season opener against the Greater Sydney Rams.
“To have your peers and coaches nominate you as captain is a pretty special honour so I’m really looking forward to starting the season with the Eagles,” Lance said.
The 25-year-old, who spent the last two seasons with the NSW Waratahs, was originally named in the Eagles 2014 squad before being ruled out through injury.
“I think the way everyone saw the NRC last year is different to how they see it this year,” he said.
“For me personally, missing out through injury, I had to watch the games and I saw how entertaining it was and how much footy was played, so I can’t wait to get stuck into that and I think we’ve got a good team to have a crack at it.”
Lance admitted he’d look to lead more through actions than words and said he’d call upon vice-captain and Nowra product Will Miller to help him guide the side this season.
“Will is up at the competition launch in Brisbane today, so obviously the Country Eagles are worried about my head, so they’ve used Will to promote the team, but that’s fine,” the flyhalf joked.
“Will’s been really good so far and has taken on a few different roles within the side. He doesn’t say a whole lot, but his actions speak louder than his words.”
Following a three-day camp in Newcastle last week, Lance said he was impressed with the Eagles backline after linking with Brumbies halfback Michael Dowsett and Waratahs teammate Dave Horwitz.
“Over the last two years at the Waratahs, Kurtley Beale and Bernard Foley have been the starting 10 and 12, so Dave and I have spent a lot of time training together in the last few years.
“We know how one another talks and how we both play so that’s made things fairly easy.
“Michael (Dowsett) from the Brumbies has been pretty impressive as well so there is a good connection there. Then you’ve got Andrew Kellaway at the back, so he’ll be dangerous as well.”
The skipper also singled out Waratahs rugby league convert and lock Sam Lousi as another to watch this season.
“I think he had three Super Rugby games this year and every time he came on he showed not only how exciting he is, but how quickly he has learnt the game, so he’s going to be hard to handle.”
The CSU Country Eagles begin their 2015 campaign against the Greater Sydney Rams at Merrylands RSL Rugby Park this Saturday.
“They’ll have a lot of cohesion from the club teams they’ve drawn from, so there will be little connections there that we’ll need to keep an eye on,” Lance said.
“For us, we haven’t really spoken too much about our opposition, it’s really about getting our own game right this weekend and doing everything we can to do well.”
2015 CSU NSW Country Eagles membership packages and tickets to all four Eagles home matches are available at www.nswcountryeagles.com.