NSW coach Michael Cheika says he is a traditionalist and won't be naming co-captains at the Waratahs for the upcoming season.
Leadership groups and co-captaincy have become flavour of the month for many new coaches across the football codes. Sharing the load wouldn't be a problem at the Waratahs, with their team stacked with Wallabies and experienced names. But Cheika still reckons an old-fashioned skipper is the way to go.
The Waratahs will announce their captain at the Super Rugby season launch on February 6 in Melbourne.
Cheika won't split the top job but will name one or two vice-captains. The Waratahs' coach said he was impressed with the amount of players desperate to be captain.
''I'm probably more traditional in the way there's one boss,'' Cheika said. ''You have to earn that right. I'm not a big man for appointing a leadership group or anything. It's found through the respect of the players amongst themselves and they organise themselves accordingly.
''There's a bit of a battle going on. There's a few guys who have stepped up that I have seen who want it. They want to be the captain.''
Wallabies prop Benn Robinson captained the team for most of last year, and will again be a front-runner for the job. However, there are a host of other candidates putting their hand up, including Berrick Barnes, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Adam Ashley-Cooper and Wycliff Palu.
Brendan McKibbin will lead the Waratahs in their opening trial against Melbourne on Saturday in Hobart. The halfback would be a surprise choice as skipper, but Cheika confirmed McKibbin had shown the right attitude. ''[Captaincy] just naturally happens and a lot of it comes from guys who have the best work ethic,'' he said.
''With McKibbin, everything he does at training is 100 per cent and players can't fault him on anything, and you earn respect like that.''
Meanwhile, young Melbourne Rebels fullback Jason Woodward has been ruled out for six weeks after injuring a tendon in his finger at pre-season training.
The 22-year-old is facing six weeks on the sidelines, with coach Damien Hill confident he would be fit for round four in early March. The former New Zealand under-20 representative said on Twitter he would require an operation this week.
The 188-centimetre, 97-kilogram Woodward was expected to be named at fullback for the Rebels' trial game against the Waratahs in Hobart, before their season-opening clash with Western Force at AAMI Park on February 15.
''Torn the tendon in my finger this morning at training, out 6 weeks apparently, op on thursday #gutted #lifecouldbeworse,'' Woodward said on Twitter.
The departure of fullback Mark Gerrard to Japanese rugby had opened the door for Woodward to settle into the side before his setback.
Kurtley Beale will start the Hobart trial match at fullback if he gets the nod from the Rebels' high-performance staff. ''He is desperate to play, and is excited about the opportunity to play with our young back line, but we will make that call on Friday,'' Hill said.
James O'Connor, Nic Stirzaker, Gareth Delve and Nic Henderson will share the role of captain in Saturday's clash with the Waratahs.