Mortlock set to stand down as captain

Wallaby captain skipper Stirling Mortlock is set to step down as Brumbies captain because he claims that it would be a “smart move” to bring in a new era of leadership for the Brumbies.


Mortlock is yet to discuss the leadership issue with Brumbies coach Laurie Fisher but has indicated that the timing could be right for a change because of his unavailability for the first half of the season due to shoulder surgery.

“I’m actually going to Canberra next week to have a chat to Laurie, the coaching staff and senior players about me missing more than half a season,” Mortlock told The Sun-Herald.

“We might go down the track of choosing a long-term captain for the side. I haven’t spoken about that yet with the coaching staff but it’s something we will sit down and address.

“A little bit of a changing of the guard may be happening. Even if I’m not involved in captaining the Brumbies, I’ll be involved with the leadership group and how we go about our business.”

George Smith and Al Campbell are said to be the logical replacements after they both skippered the side during Mortlock’s absence through injury last season.

Fisher is scheduled to meet his fellow coaches this week to discuss the leadership group, although he has ruled out rotating captains.

“We’re very lucky we’ve got an excellent leadership group at the Brumbies and there’s several guys who can put their hands up for the job,” Mortlock said.

“Obviously Al Campbell had a handful of matches as captain last year and likewise George Smith, who also captained the Wallabies against Canada. Those two guys stand up, first and foremost.”

Former Wallabies coach John Connolly is a supporter of Mortlock’s plan saying, “I think it would be a very good move, the demands on Super 14 captains are increasing and John Eales has shown in the past you don’t have to captain your club to lead your country.”he said.

Mortlock is currently recovering from his third shoulder reconstruction and is contracted to the ARU for a further season. There was speculation he could request a mid-season release on long-service grounds if he decided to chase lucrative European club offers.

However, the 30-year-old says he doesn’t want his final game for the Wallabies to be a heartbreaking World Cup quarter-final loss to England.

“I would certainly want to finish on a better note than that,” said Mortlock, who wants to retain the Wallabies captaincy. “A huge part of me wants to be part of the next generation and bring through the talent I know we’ve got in Australia. A new coach on board will bring a new direction for the Wallabies team.”

However, his future beyond next year remains clouded. “I’m still in the process of sitting down and talking to my wife about that,” he said.

Mortlock says that he will not rush his injury back to health which could see him return to rugby in about the seventh round. .

“It’s been pretty positive and things are going as planned,” he said.”The surgeon was happy with the operation but it’s a full six-month turnaround on this type of injury.”

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