Former Wallabies skipper Ben Mowen is adamant Michael Hooper should retain the national captaincy for the upcoming Bledisloe Cup and Rugby Championship series.
New Wallabies coach Dave Rennie declared the captaincy was up for grabs after naming a 44-man preliminary squad last Sunday.
Despite being the incumbent Wallabies captain, Hooper did not lead the Waratahs this season, with veteran Rob Simmons being given the role.
“Clearly he’s not doing it (captaincy) at the Waratahs and it’s been good for his game,” Rennie said.
“To be honest I think he’s played really well. He’s still leading, he just hasn’t got the ‘c’ next to his name.”
“We’ll work out what the team is first and then we’ll select a captain. There’s lots of good leaders within that group.”
👀 New squad, who dis? #Wallabies pic.twitter.com/sgEJGHAE8G
They include Simmons, Rebels fullback Dane Haylett-Petty and his Melbourne teammate Matt Toomua.
However, Mowen was in no doubt that Hooper was the man for the job.
“If it was me, I’d be backing Michael Hooper the whole way,” said Mowen, who was made captain of the Wallabies less than five months after making his debut in 2013.
“He’s been outstanding for a long time in terms his performance. His leadership just grows year on year, and he’s managed things through pretty tough periods.”
Working against Hooper is his poor Wallabies’ captaincy record.
He has led Australia to just 19 wins from 46 Tests in charge. The winning strike rate of 44.56 per cent is the lowest of any Wallabies skipper since David Codey, who lost his only match in charge in 1997.
“He will have grown a lot out of that and I’m sure working with a new management team, he’ll be re-enthused by new experiences there,” Mowen said.
“That experience that he’s got under his belt, one of the youngest guys ever to play 100 Tests, certainly in Australia, we need that type of leadership this year.”
Regardless of who captains Australia, Mowen predicted a bold showing from the Wallabies, saying having a separate Super Rugby AU competition this year was an advantage.
“Kiwi sides haven’t been having a look at the way the guys have been playing up close and personal,” he said.
“It’s different watching it on tape than it is to getting comfortable by playing against opposition.
“There’s a hell of a lot of advantages that have come out of Super Rugby Australia playing just internally.
“There are so many unknowns and that’s a cool thing. Upsets can happen when there are lots of unknowns.”
Source: Read Full Article