Super Rugby
Michael Hooper has lessons to learn from Waratahs club captain Dave Dennis
Brittany Mitchell
January 20, 2016
© Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Waratahs head coach Daryl Gibson has made one of his first big changes in naming Michael Hooper team captain, but don't expect to see a change in winning attitudes.

Taking over the Tahs captaincy from Dave Dennis, Hooper says there won't be any changes in what he or the team aim to achieve this year.

"Wins," Hooper said when asked about his goals as captain.

"In short you want to win, you want to create a good environment and have a good time doing what is such a good job. We get to train every day, throw a footy around the field, so we've got a pretty awesome job and we want to turn it into an even better one with winning."

Hooper has experience in the captaincy position after he assumed the armband in 2014 when Dennis suffered a season-ending knee injury, leading the Waratahs to their inaugural Super Rugby title, but the 24-year-old said he still had things to learn from Dennis.

"It's going to be a learning process together. We've had three good years at it, and he's put this club in an amazing position with the Super title win, and we just want to build from there.

"With the group and the leadership team we have here, it's a collective effort. We want the young guys to be putting their hands up as well."

© Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

But don't expect there to be any bad blood between the two senior players, with the pair expected to split the on-field and off-field roles.

"There's a bunch of new guys in here, and it's a really exciting year ahead and Denno and myself's relationship has always been fantastic; it's more a partnership than it is a handover or anything like that. So it's a really exciting time for us."

Hooper, who has also captained the Wallabies, credited his teammates for his leadership skills and said he wouldn't be changing his style of play.

"You've still got to play your game; I think you're picked as captain to maintain your on-field status as a player, so I've been working really hard on my fitness. But you do have a few added responsibilities in and around the week and particularly on the weekend. It's a learning process as I said, but you want to keep that growing and enjoy it.

"I've always had such a good support network. I've always enjoyed the teams I've been involved in and this group is a really exciting young group this year, the young guys are sticking their hands up from day one here in the new year, and you want to be a part of it."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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