NRC: Tessman, Prior and Cottrell to lead Perth Spirit

Ian Prior has been named as part of the three-man captaincy group for the Spirit in 2015 (Image: Getty)

Hooker Heath Tessmann will lead a three-man captaincy group along with Ian Prior and Angus Cottrell for the Perth Spirit in this year’s Buildcorp National Rugby Championship (NRC). 

 With 54 Super Rugby caps and nearly ten years of senior rugby to his name, Tessmann will bring experience into a young forward pack and leadership to the group more broadly. 

Prior will back up a solid 2014 Buildcorp NRC season after playing four matches including a 24-point haul against the Sydney Stars. 

Cottrell, who missed last year’s tournament due to an ankle injury suffered during the Super Rugby season, rounds out the group having played 43 games of Super Rugby and a regular fixture in the Western Force back row alongside captain Matt Hodgson and Wallaby No. 8 Ben McCalman.

Tessmann, who only played one game in last year’s competition before suffering an ankle injury, is looking forward to the opportunity of captaining the team and is happy to have Prior and Cottrell at his side.

“I’m really excited about this year, we’ve got a great group of young guys that are just ready to learn and progress their rugby,” he said. “Having Sitchy (Prior) and Gus there to bounce ideas off and talk tactics is great too.”

“Last year showed what a fast paced game the NRC produces and it’s a style that players really enjoy. We’ve got an exciting playing group, made up of guys from the Force and some exceptional talent from the local competition here in Perth.”

Perth Spirit head coach Tai McIsaac, says the three players were strong candidates for the role.

“They’re three guys that demand a lot of respect from the players,” he said. “They’re the sort of guys that lead by example and I think they will do a great job leading the team this year.”

“Gus is the sort of player that reminds me of Matt Hodgson, he’ll lead by example in what he does on the field which is a really powerful leadership skill and something that the younger players in the team will really admire. 

“Ian will play his leadership role in a different way, driving the team around the field with a lot of constructive talk and instruction, along with his good decision making in heated moments. “

“While Heath will be that steady head on the field, that will calm a lot of the younger players when things need to be steered in a different direction, he’ll be the man for that.” 

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