Super Rugby
Waratahs name home-grown hero Michael Hooper team captain
Brittany Mitchell
January 20, 2016
© Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images

The NSW Waratahs have named Michael Hooper as team captain for the 2016 season, with Dave Dennis remaining club captain while underpinned by a senior leadership group.

Hooper previously took over the captaincy role in 2014 when Dennis suffered a season ending knee injury, and led the Waratahs to their inaugural Super Rugby triumph against the Crusaders.

At 22-years-old he was also named the 82nd Wallabies captain during the three-Test series against France in June 2014.

Born in Sydney, the 24-year-old had a short stint at the Brumbies before he made his move to the Waratahs in 2013 and said he was honoured to take on the captaincy role for his home state.

"I'm a NSW boy through and through. Growing up in NSW and getting the opportunity to lead NSW is a huge privilege, especially after taking over from Dave Dennis who has been a big influence on my career," Hooper said.

"Dave and I have a great relationship and the team is culturally really strong so changes that have already taken place this year have been taken really well by the group. This will be no different.

"It's going to be a learning process for me, it's a fairly new squad so there's challenges there, but also excitement around what we can get done on the field."

In an esteemed career so far, Hooper set a club record in 2015, becoming the first player to win the Matt Burke Cup three times, polling the most votes from his team-mates since his debut season in 2013, and coach Daryl Gibson said it was his natural leadership skills that convinced him to make his selection.

"This is an opportunity for Michael to establish himself as leader of a new group with a view to the long-term future," Gibson said.

"We are extremely fortunate to have an experienced senior group behind them too, with guidance from players like Dave Dennis and Dean Mumm to assist in leading our team.

"Dave has been, and will continue to be, an outstanding leader at our club. He becomes our club captain, giving us two quality people to lead our team and club."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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