Super Rugby

Simmons to captain Waratahs in Super rugby for 2020




New South Wales Super Rugby team the Waratahs have announced that Rob Simmons has replaced Michael Hooper as Super rugby captain for the 2020 season.

Simmons assumes the captaincy role from Michael Hooper, who has chosen to stand down from the position he was officially appointed to in early-2016.

Hooper’s captaincy stretches back to the 2014 season where he stood in for Dave Dennis when required, and the backrower said it had been a privilege to serve his home state during that time.

“It’s been an honour to represent New South Wales as a player alone, but the opportunity to lead a fantastic group of men over the journey to date has been a humbling experience,” Hooper said.

“It’s a role that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed, but I feel that the time is right for someone like Rob to lead this group in the season ahead.

“Someone of his quality and character both on and off the field, leading this young team around will be extremely valuable moving forward – he has the full support of myself and the wider leadership team in building a culture we feel will bring NSW success in Super Rugby.”

Simmons – who boasts 145 Super Rugby caps – will be deputised by Kurtley Beale who has been appointed vice-captain for the upcoming campaign.

He becomes the 172nd captain of the NSW Waratahs in their 146-year history.

Arriving in 2018, the now 100-Test Wallaby quickly became a leader within the NSW Waratahs squad – signing a two-year contract extension in 2019 – keeping him at Daceyville until the end of the 2021 Super Rugby season.

Simmons said the appointment was a special moment in his career.

“It’s a proud moment for me and my family, to be named captain of an organization that has such a profound place in Australian rugby history is really special,” Simmons said.

“The significance of being selected by my teammates as their leader in 2020 is certainly not lost on me and it’s been an extremely humbling experience as we approach the new season.”

“I’ve always prided myself on having a team-first mentality and that won’t change [with this role].”

Simmons praised his predecessor for his leadership and highlighted the role the squad’s senior members would play in 2020.

“Michael has built a wonderful platform [as a leader] and the support and experience he’ll provide along with the leadership group will be important in ensuring we meet the vision our squad has set for the season ahead,” Simmons said.

“The ‘c’ may be next to my name but we’ve got a strong collection of senior players that are all responsible for driving standards within the group and educating the next generation of [NSW] Waratah on what it means to represent our state at the highest level.”

Rob Simmons of Australia makes his way onto the pitch during the Australia Captain's Run

Rob Simmons of Australia makes his way onto the pitch.

NSW Waratahs Head Coach, Rob Penney congratulated Hooper on the exemplary service he’d given his state as captain, and welcomed the appointment of Simmons.

“We’ve had a number of conversations about this and we feel that this [appointment] is in the best interest of the entire squad,” Penney said.

“Rob has shown himself to be an incredible leader in my short time here at the Waratahs, his presence around the group and his experience at provincial and international level will be an invaluable resource for our younger boys.

“We’ve got an exceptional group of leaders within our squad, and while Rob’s appointment is a wonderful recognition of his qualities, it’s also not his responsibility to lead alone which is something we’ve talked about with our senior players.

“Michael and the wider leadership group will have a pivotal role to play in supporting both he and Kurtley in their roles as captain and vice-captain.”

Beale – who sits third on the state’s all-time appearance list – said that he was looking forward to supporting Simmons in his role as skipper.

“It’s something that I’m really proud to be doing this season,” Beale said.

“I’ve played a lot of footy with Rob and I know the sort of person he is off the field and the influence he can have on the group as a whole, to play a part in supporting that is exciting for me.

“We’ve got some quality young backs in the squad and their energy and enthusiasm is great for the [team] environment. It’s enjoyable sharing my experience with them and seeing them develop and grow.”

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