The Waratahs have a new skipper in place ahead of their season opener against the Crusdaers on February 1.

Wallabies skipper Hooper hands Waratahs captaincy to Simmons


Michael Hooper has relinquished the Waratahs captaincy to experienced lock Rob Simmons for the 2020 Super Rugby season.

Simmons, 30, will lead the team into next weekend's clash with the Crusaders after Hooper gave up the role he took on a full-time basis in 2016.

The Wallabies skipper said the "taxing" nature of his dual leadership positions contributed to the decision.

Kurtley Beale will serve as Simmons' deputy.

"This is something that has been on my mind, in this environment, for a good 18 months," Hooper told reporters. "It hasn't been something that's been on a whim or anything like that.

"There's much more than just leading the team out on the park.

"I went into last season fully committed to the role but also before that having question marks over my position as captain."

However, star flanker Hooper indicated he wanted to continue captaining his country under new Australia head coach Dave Rennie.

"That's a fair way away, but my thoughts and ideas around that have not changed," the 28-year-old said.

"I still do think I have a lot of growing in myself, in my gameplay and my captaincy.

"There are conversations Dave and myself will be having, I'm sure, in the future. But it's also a bit of time off, so I'm dealing with the here and now and what that will look like."

Meanwhile, New Zealand international Patrick Tuipulotu has taken over as sole captain of the Blues after sharing the job with Blake Gibson last season.



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