Rugby Union

Brumbies work out kinks for co-captains plan with Stephen Moore and Christian Lealiifano

ACT Brumbies co-captain Stephen Moore says he will work with Christian Lealiifano to ensure there are no mixed messages delivered to the team, adding the pair will meet regularly to discuss their dual role.

Moore and Lealiifano will face their first real test when the Brumbies play the Wellington Hurricanes at Canberra Stadium on Friday night.

Dual roles: Christian Lealiifano and Stephen Moore will share the Brumbies' captaincy.
Dual roles: Christian Lealiifano and Stephen Moore will share the Brumbies' captaincy. Photo: Elesa Kurtz

The match will double as Moore's 150th Super Rugby appearance, meaning the hooker will become just the sixth player in the competition's history to reach the milestone.

Moore and Lealiifano will work game-by-game to decide who speaks to referees over contentious decisions and who calls the shots during matches.

But coach Stephen Larkham isn't concerned by a staggering 31 penalties in their pre-season clash against the Queensland Reds, with referee Angus Gardner penalising both teams almost once every two minutes.

Moore took on the role of speaking to Gardner in the last pre-season trial and Lealiifano will take his opportunity at some stage this season.


The Brumbies will speak with referees and their bosses to determine if they are happy to be approached by both Moore and Lealiifano during a game, or if one should be designated the role.

"Referees can be quite strict on only having just one captain, while others are happy to have multiple guys chat to them, so we'll make sure we clarify that so everyone is happy," Larkham said. "It's a week-to-week proposition and it's something we will discuss internally and change it from time to time.

"The important thing to not is that Squeak [Moore] is the leader of the forward back and Christian is the leader when it comes to the backs, so potentially they could speak to the referee depending on what area of the game needs attention."

The Brumbies will take the unusual step of starting their training week on Sunday to give them a full preparation leading into the Hurricanes game.

Moore and Lealiifano had their first chance to work together in the combined leadership job when the Brumbies beat the Reds 31-18 last weekend.

The duo will have constant dialogue with the senior leadership group, but both are aware they need to be succinct in their messages to the team to ensure there is no confusion.

Moore, who is also the Wallabies skipper, firmly believes having two people in the captaincy job is the way of the future, sharing the responsibilities and work load to make sure it does not become a burden.

"We'll talk about how things go for the rest of the season. There will be opportunities to change [who speaks to the referee] throughout the year," he said.

"I think it's important for Christian to get a taste of that as well, to get used to the on-field calling and working with the referee or even things like the toss.

"We'll be on the same page there, our roles won't change too much and I've already seen that in the time we've worked together.

"We'll catch up regularly to talk about how we want the team to operate and it's important for us to have really strong dialogue with each other, [Larkham] and the other leaders."

Brumbies flanker David Pocock was sent to the sin bin for repeated infringements at the breakdown against the Reds.

Pocock is off contract at the end of the season, with the Brumbies and Australian Rugby Union having tabled an offer that would allow the world's best flanker to take next year off.

The Brumbies are also working to get their heads around new interpretations of the rolling maul with referees to crack down on the set-piece move.

Gardner almost blew the pea out of his whistle with the 31 penalties against the Brumbies and Reds, draining the game of any real flow. But Larkham was confident ill-discipline would not be a problem when the Super Rugby season begins.

"We just have to look at it from our perspective. There are a couple of changes to the laws that referees are coming to terms with," he said.

"We'll let them do their job and get some clarification on the things we're doing and then just focus on our game."


Friday: ACT Brumbies v Wellington Hurricanes at Canberra Stadium, 7.40pm. Tickets available from Ticketek.