Rugby Union

Former Wallabies coach John Connolly, Giants skipper Phil Davis back Brumbies co-captaincy

Former Wallabies coach John Connolly believes the ACT Brumbies' decision to appoint co-captains is a "good move", while Greater Western Sydney co-captain Phil Davis says the experience of Stephen Moore will be invaluable for Christian Lealiifano this season.

Former Wallabies coach John Connolly says Christian Lealiifano and Steve Moore will work well as the Brumbies' first ...
Former Wallabies coach John Connolly says Christian Lealiifano and Steve Moore will work well as the Brumbies' first co-captains. Photo: Elesa Kurtz

With Moore leaving for the Queensland Reds at the end of the Super Rugby season, Brumbies coach Stephen Larkham has opted for Lealiifano and Moore to share the role.

Connolly employed a similar tactic when he was in charge of the Wallabies, with Stirling Mortlock and Phil Waugh sharing the duties in the lead-up to the World Cup in 2007. Mortlock then led the team during the World Cup.

Connolly said having co-captains didn't always work and pointed to rugby league teams moving away from the concept. But he said it depended on the "people in your team and what the dynamics are with the coach".

"They're preparing obviously for the exit of Stephen Moore and Stephen Moore's a very admirable type of bloke, so that makes all the sense in the world," Connolly said.

"It depends on the personality of the guy in charge. Stephen's a very admirable type of bloke and easy going. If you've got a very abrasive guy who does a good job as captain it mightn't work as well, but Stephen's been at the Brumbies so long, he'll want to leave a very good legacy there. I wouldn't think it would be a great issue."

Connolly said the Brumbies had leaders and experience throughout their set-up, both within their coaches and their playing group.

He backed the move if Lealiifano, who has re-signed until the end of 2018, was going to be the long-term captain.

Connolly also felt the Brumbies were perfectly placed to "have a good year", although he didn't want to say much more because "things can change in a heartbeat with injuries".

"What you've got down there is, you've got a very good coach in Stephen Larkham, the forwards are well coached, Peter Ryan's a strong personality, there's enough leaders in that side," he said.

"You look at that Brumbies side and with the Pococks, the Alexanders, it's a very, very experienced unit and those couple of young locks are coming through for them. It's probably a good move for them. I think it's a sensible way forward if they think Christian's going to be the captain long-term."

Canberra-born Davis shares the captaincy with Callan Ward at the Giants in the AFL, and the pair previously shared the role with triple-premiership player Luke Power.

Davis saw no downside to having co-captains and said having someone like Power to guide him in his first year in the role had been invaluable. He said both he and Ward complemented each other and if either of them felt strongly about doing something then the other would step aside.

Davis saw nothing but positives with sharing the load and felt Lealiifano would definitely benefit. "I think that will work really well. Any time you've got someone new in the role and you can have someone a bit older still playing, helping them through and mentoring it's definitely a benefit and I'm sure Christian will benefit from that," he said. "Also Stephen working with a young player who's really in touch with core part of the group will benefit."

The Brumbies travel to Wagga Wagga for their first pre-season trial, against the NSW Waratahs on Saturday at 7pm.