Hurricanes get new captain for Super 14



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The Hurricanes will have a new captain in 2006 with Rodney So’oialo assuming the role given Tana Umaga’s desire to concentrate on his playing duties.

Rodney So’oialo debuted for the Hurricanes in 2001 and has since played 43 games for the side.  The 26 year-old loose forward said that he felt privileged to become the Hurricanes captain.

‘It’s a real honour to be offered the captaincy of the Hurricanes,’ said So’oialo.

‘I’ll try to continue the great job Tana has done and I’ll just try and do the things that have worked for me when I’ve captained Wellington – trying to lead by example basically.’

Hurricanes coach Colin Cooper said he expects So’oialo to take his elevation to Hurricanes captain in his stride.

‘I know Rodney will do a great job leading this side and like Tana, he’s another player who has mana and the respect of his teammates which is vital,’ said Cooper.

‘In terms of Tana, I fully support and respect his decision to hand over the captaincy reins.

‘Recent seasons have shown us that you need a group of leaders and Tana will still provide his valuable input into the squad, so we’re actually going to strengthen our overall leadership.’

In another development Hurricanes openside flanker Ben Herring will miss the 2006 Rebel Sport Super 14 season as he recovers from a knee injury. 

Although the injury did not stem from a single incident, ongoing discomfort and subsequent scans on his left knee have revealed widespread cartilage damage.  His rehabilitation period has been assessed as being around six months.

Herring expressed disappointment at missing the forthcoming season.

‘I’m pretty gutted about missing the season, especially because it’s the first Rebel Sport Super 14 but now my focus is on my rehab,’ said Herring.

Colin Cooper said that losing a player of Herring’s calibre is unfortunate but added that the situation provides opportunities for others.

‘Ben is a big loss to the squad but the most important thing is for him to get his body right, especially in his position as an openside,’ said Cooper.

‘An opportunity now presents itself for Serge (Lilo) and he shows a lot of promise, but obviously the development of Chris Masoe as a seven has even greater significance for us now.

‘We are also fortunate that Rodney (So’oialo) has played a bit of seven in recent times and could be used as cover there also.’ 

Serge Lilo’s position in the Hurricanes Wider Training Group has been filled by Wellington loose forward Faifili Levave.

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