Captaincy poser for Tahs coach
Mon, 07 Jan 2013 10:09
The leadership's earned, it's not a given
The majority of the Waratahs' Wallabies reported back for club duty Monday, a week earlier than required, but coach Michael Cheika has a major poser to solve.
Cheika said he has not decided who will captain the team and will wait to see who wants it the most before making a call.
Eight of the team's 12 touring Wallabies cut their well earned break off early to get back to training.
Incumbent captain Benn Robinson - who inherited the role as a result of former skipper Rocky Elsom's injury ruined 2012 season - has already stated his desire to be in a leadership role.
"Until the other lads had come back and started running, you've got to see who wants it the most," Cheika told AAP, when asked about the captaincy.
"The leadership's earned, it's not a given.
"A lot of the guys are back and running around now - we'll see who wants to earn the respect to be the boss."
Asked how many of the returning Wallabies were in the running for the captaincy, Cheika said: "I don't know, I couldn't tell you.
"There's a natural group of guys that have stepped out of the (non-Wallabies players) squad that has been here already.
"Now when the Wallaby players have returned - I think some of them who have returned in advance of their dates have shown that they want to be in it."
As for Robinson's chances, Cheika said:
"He's here a week earlier than he was supposed to be - that shows that he wants it".
With the first pre-season trial match now just four weeks away, Cheika wasted no time in getting them back into training as quickly as possible.
One of those to impress was new recruit Michael Hooper, who together with Berrick Barnes, led the field through the gruelling hill session.
“Today was a great start,” said Hooper, after the session. ‘It was great to meet the boys and the new coach and players, really good fun.
“The squad is in really great shape. There's already a good culture here, everyone seems to be enjoying themselves and working hard and I'm really enjoying being a part of it.”
With the rest of the squad well into pre-season preparations, the team's 12 touring Wallabies will undertake a separate training program for the next two weeks, designed to fast-track their return to the squad ahead of the Super Rugby trial matches that start in just four weeks' time.
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