Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie has announced that stalwart hooker Stephen Moore will lead Australia against France.
Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie has announced that stalwart hooker Stephen Moore will lead Australia on Saturday against France at Suncorp Stadium.
A veteran of 91 Tests and Australia's all-time most capped hooker, Moore will become the nation's 81st Test captain, a huge honour in his tenth season with the Wallabies.
Moore will be well-supported in the role with Wallabies flanker Michael Hooper and winger Adam Ashley-Cooper confirmed as the team's vice-captains.
McKenzie said the trio would be responsible for driving performance and culture on and off the field.
“They've all been recognised for the contributions they make to the Qantas Wallabies environment and I'm confident they possess the right leadership attributes to take this team to the next level,” said McKenzie.
“It's a new group of leaders with a variety of personalities and experiences, where in combination they are empowered to help set a new direction towards the Rugby World Cup in 2015.
“For Stephen, I want to congratulate him on what is a huge personal achievement in being chosen to lead your country.
“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 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.
“When I consider what qualities are important for the captain of this team, I'm looking for someone who drives positive outcomes across all areas of High Performance.
“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 and Ashley-Cooper are Australia's two most capped Test representatives in the current squad and enter the series needing only a further nine caps to reach the exclusive 100-game mark.
The selection of Hooper as one of the team's vice-captains continues his meteoric rise where in the past three seasons he has won nearly all significant individual awards on offer – John Eales Medal for Players' Player (2013), Australia's Choice Wallaby of the Year (2013), Australian Super Rugby Player of the Year (2013), Qantas Wallabies Rookie of the Year (2012), and Australian Under 20s Player of the Year (2011).
Moore said he was honoured to be chosen as captain of the Qantas Wallabies.
“It's extremely humbling to be given the opportunity, especially when you consider the number of exceptional leaders we have in the current Australian squad,” said Moore.
“It's a huge honour but for me the most important thing is not about getting an opportunity, it's ultimately about what you do with it.
“It's an absolute privilege every time you wear the green and gold jersey and as captain I want to ensure this attitude is reflected through the actions of the entire squad in everything we do.
“The most successful leaders I've played under have been those who let their actions do the talking. This a proven leadership approach.
“As a team, our first job for 2014 is a tough three-game Test series against the French.
“They're always an unpredictable opponent, so we'll focus all our energy on Saturday's opening game.”