Hooker Stephen Moore named Wallabies captain
SYDNEY (AP) — Hooker and 91-test veteran Stephen Moore has been named Wallabies captain for this month’s test series against France and the important lead-up to next year’s Rugby World Cup.
Moore, who takes over the leadership almost a decade after his Australia debut, succeeds Ben Mowen who has relinquished the captaincy to continue his professional career in France.
Center Adam Ashley-Cooper and flanker Michael Hooper have been appointed vice captains in a seasoned leadership group which coach Ewen McKenzie said is “empowered to help set a new direction towards the Rugby World Cup in 2015.”
Moore said being appointed captain is “extremely humbling ... but for me the most important thing is not about getting an opportunity, it’s ultimately about what you do with it”.
“As a team, our first job for 2014 is a tough three-game test series against the French,” he said. “They’re always an unpredictable opponent, so we’ll focus all our energy on Saturday’s opening game.”
McKenzie said the new leadership group under Moore brought “a variety of personalities and experiences” to their roles which he expected to benefit the Wallabies team.
“He has been in and around the leadership setup at a provincial and national level for a long time and as a result has experienced and seen almost every possible sporting leadership scenario,” he said of Moore.
“He won’t be fazed by the challenge of captaincy. He understands what works well and why and I think the added responsibility will suit him and the direction we are taking the team.
McKenzie said captaincy is “a 24/7 commitment and one where the person chosen must be heavily involved in the day-to-day business functions of the teams. Stephen ticks all of those boxes, in addition to being a player who leads by example on the field.”
Moore’s coach at the ACT Brumbies and former Wallabies teammate Stephen Larkham said Moore was “100 percent a good choice.”
“He speaks well in front of the group, always says the right things and is very disciplined off the field,” Larkham said. “He’s been the most consistent performer for the Wallabies in the past year and for the Brumbies.
“He’s continually putting in and leading off the field and leading by example on the field. I’d 100 per cent back the decision to have him as the captain of the Wallabies. He’s a fantastic leader.”
Moore is the fourth captain McKenzie has appointed in 10 months and 12 matches as Wallabies coach, following James Horwill, Will Genia and Mowen. But he said Moore’s appointment would be a long-term one as long as his form holds out.
“The 12 test matches I’ve had so far has been very much a melting pot for me to understand where the team was and get to know people better,” McKenzie said. ”
“This isn’t a one-week appointment and it can be as long as it needs to be. I haven’t put any limitations on it. It can be 10 years as long as we’re getting the outcomes.”
The Wallabies team for the first test against France is due to be named on Tuesday.