NSW greats hail Dennis captaincy choice

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    Legendary NSW rugby captains Simon Poidevin and Phil Waugh have hailed the appointment of fellow flanker Dave Dennis as the Waratahs’ 2013 leader, a choice made by new coach Michael Cheika just 20 minutes before its public announcement.

    Dennis, 27, replaces prop Benn Robinson following a 2012 Super Rugby campaign which ended with the Waratahs suffering eight straight losses to finish 11th with a 4-12 record.

    He enjoyed a breakout year in 2012, winning the Waratahs’ Players’ Player of the year and making his Test debut, playing in all of Australia’s 15 Tests.

    Dennis confirmed Cheika had only informed him he would be captain less than half an hour before telling the rest of the world.

    “It’s true, it’s a bit of a surprise, but something I’m extremely proud of and he (Cheika) goes about things a bit differently, but it’s been received well,” Dennis said.

    Asked why he had waited to virtually the last minute to make his decision, Cheika said: “What I wanted to do is make sure I took enough time to assess who would be the leader of the team.”

    The decision certainly met with the approval of Poidevin and Waugh.

    “I think it’s a fabulous choice of captain. He had an incredible year last year,” Poidevin told AAP.

    “He’s a guy who gets it. He’s come from club rugby, he’s had a great affinity with the community and juniors and he’s a standout leader.”

    Waugh, who played alongside Dennis in the Waratahs team, described the new NSW captain as passionate and loyal.

    “He works hard, he’s certainly got the respect from all the players and he’s got that probably rare ability to connect with everyone in the squad which is such an important part of being a captain,” Waugh said.

    “I think it’s a great choice.”

    Dennis said he would lead by deed rather than word and revealed Waugh and Robinson were among people he would consult on captaincy.

    “He’s just got to continue to be himself. He’ll put his own mark on the captaincy,” Waugh said.

    Cheika said Dennis had earned the right to captain NSW after performing at club, Super and Test levels.

    “Given to certain players, the captaincy will certainly make you a better player and I have no doubt that David will take that up,” Cheika said.

    Cheika said the Waratahs wouldn’t have a leadership group, but he would appoint a couple of vice-captains after consulting Dennis.

    Dennis acknowledged there would be pressure on the Waratahs to perform after a disastrous 2012 campaign, but wasn’t about to make promises and predictions about the coming season.

    “You can’t say a lot – we’ve just got to show it,” Dennis said.

    “We can’t make any guarantees, but what I will say is we will try everything we can to perform and to make the state proud.

    “Passionate performances, try and play attacking rugby.”

    Cheika expected to have close to a full complement of players available for the first game against Queensland, with back Berrick Barnes expected to be right to face his former team despite suffering a knee knock on Tuesday.

    © AAP 2018

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    The Crowd Says (37)

    • February 7th 2013 @ 3:52am
      sportym said | February 7th 2013 @ 3:52am | ! Report

      Choice made 20 min before the public announcement…. WOW. Way to make the Captain feel special 😉 Wonder if he drew the name our out of a raffle?

      They should announce the Vice captains 10min before the kick off.

      • February 7th 2013 @ 7:59am
        nickoldschool said | February 7th 2013 @ 7:59am | ! Report

        agree. very clumsy to say you’ve chosen your captain at the last minute. Cheika should have lied, say Dennis became the obvious choice as time went by blabla…

        • February 7th 2013 @ 9:54am
          Sailosi said | February 7th 2013 @ 9:54am | ! Report

          The Waratahs have been telling lies for too long. I’m glad Cheika tod it how it was.

      • Roar Guru

        February 7th 2013 @ 9:39am
        AlBo said | February 7th 2013 @ 9:39am | ! Report

        I think it would have been made a while before then. Saying 20 minutes gives the other players who were up for the honour the idea that they were in with a chance ‘right til the last minute’. I think it’s a statement with a soupçon of tokenism.

        Happy for Dennis. There are no real standouts for the job and he had a good Super Rugby year last year.

      • February 7th 2013 @ 2:35pm
        Terry Kidd said | February 7th 2013 @ 2:35pm | ! Report

        He didn’t make the choice at the last minute, he simply confirmed it and announced it …. thats a long way from a hip shot move

        • February 8th 2013 @ 1:09am
          Hightackle said | February 8th 2013 @ 1:09am | ! Report

          But thats how it comes accross isnt it?
          If I was Dennis I would be thinking “was he not sure”?
          It comes accross that he didnt know and ran out of time and was forced to choose.
          Imo a bad start from Cheika.

    • February 7th 2013 @ 4:49am
      Hightackle said | February 7th 2013 @ 4:49am | ! Report

      Really strange.
      Cheika does things differently? Cheika did this stupidly imo.
      His reason for the late…hang on, I just thought of the real reason. I would suggest it wasnt to be Dennis at all but his preferred choice didnt work out for one reason or another and he was forced to change at the last sec…maybe…I dont know but its a really strange way to do things and it makes me feel that perhaps Cheika is a bit of a cowboy.
      Time will tell.

      • February 7th 2013 @ 7:21am
        Kippa said | February 7th 2013 @ 7:21am | ! Report

        Bawahaha hightackle. Maybe the first choice captain went out on a bender and didn’t show up…. (just like the waratahs 2012 season, didn’t show up)

      • February 7th 2013 @ 2:39pm
        Terry Kidd said | February 7th 2013 @ 2:39pm | ! Report

        Exactly Hightackle …. you don’t know, and neither does anyone else except Cheika. Dennis has been announced as captain, I hope he does well. Let’s leave it there and ditch pointless speculation.

    • February 7th 2013 @ 8:53am
      Jutsie said | February 7th 2013 @ 8:53am | ! Report

      some other tahs related news that i spotted in the SMH website, sam lane has removed himself from the tahs EPS squad and is focussing on regaining confidence after his knee op whilst playing for manly’s 7’s team.

      • February 7th 2013 @ 2:41pm
        Terry Kidd said | February 7th 2013 @ 2:41pm | ! Report

        Yeah and Burgess is looking to return in May, not necessarily to the Tahs though

    • February 7th 2013 @ 9:17am
      jameswm said | February 7th 2013 @ 9:17am | ! Report

      The only thing I don’t get about the selervction is that Dennis is one of the less certain season starters. What happens if his form slumps or if Lopeti Timani starts killing it, and demanding a starting spot. Or if Timani Jnr comes off the bench at the 50 minute mark, swapping for Dennis? Is one of the criteria for selecting your captain someone who will spend a lot of time on the field?

      He’d have to have a backup strategy, whether it be Robinson, AAC, or Barnes.

      Anyway, it’s a Ben Mowen-type choice. Good bloke, tries hard, well liked, sensible.

      • February 7th 2013 @ 9:24am
        rl said | February 7th 2013 @ 9:24am | ! Report

        Hopefully its a sign that the Tahs think he won’t be featuring in the Wallabies team. Which would be a good outcome for the Tahs and the Wallabies.

      • February 7th 2013 @ 11:40am
        Who Needs Melon said | February 7th 2013 @ 11:40am | ! Report

        “Good bloke, tries hard, well liked” = captain? Really jameswm?

        Has the guy really shown leadership on the field? Have we seen the Phil Waugh or George Gregan like glares? The rallying of the troops behind the goal line? The harranging of the forwards in a maul? Or the inspirational tackle or big play?

        I’m sorry. I wish him and the Tahs the best of luck – I honestly do – and I hope I’m proved wrong but I find this a little uninspiring.

        Anyway, what’s done is done now. As mentioned below, I think Hooper shows a lot more of the qualities I’ve mentioned and seems like a “good bloke, well liked who tries hard” to boot. I know he is young but I hope he’s thrown the captaincy on the occaisons when Dennis is injured or otherwise off the field.

        • February 7th 2013 @ 11:50am
          Jutsie said | February 7th 2013 @ 11:50am | ! Report

          I think dennis did show alot of leadership last year. whilst the rest of the team had poor work ethic he put in 100% each game and rightfully won the best player award.
          Sure he has his knockers at test level but you cant take away the fact that he had an excellent super season in 2012.
          He reminds me of guys like mowen, brett robinson, matt hodgson etc. They may never make it at test level but they lead from the front and bleed for their club.

          • February 7th 2013 @ 1:44pm
            Allanthus said | February 7th 2013 @ 1:44pm | ! Report


            That’s exactly how I read it. Not quite up to genuine test level, but a capable, consistent and honest player at Super rugby level.

            This seems well deserved to me and might be proven to be an inspired choice – he looks like the type of guy whose own game will blossom because of the increased responsibility and vote of confidence in him.

            • February 7th 2013 @ 2:46pm
              jameswm said | February 7th 2013 @ 2:46pm | ! Report

              Melon I didn;’t say that’s how I would pick the captain. I said I think they are the factors that came into it.

              Tries hard and sensible are the main things. He leads by example by always putting in, and makes few mistakes. Whether he rallies the troops, who knows. As much as Pocock’s captaincy is criticised, he seems to me to be the spiritual leader of the Wallabies pack and the one who rallies them when needed. It doesn’t have to be the captain who does this.

      • February 7th 2013 @ 2:43pm
        Terry Kidd said | February 7th 2013 @ 2:43pm | ! Report

        A bit like Clark at the Chiefs ??

    • Roar Guru

      February 7th 2013 @ 9:41am
      AlBo said | February 7th 2013 @ 9:41am | ! Report

      I wouldn’t read into the ‘last 20 minutes’ guff. It’s purely to give the impression that it was a really hard decision. Make those who didn’t get the nod feel better. Right nice of him to do so I reckon.

      • February 7th 2013 @ 10:16am
        Justin2 said | February 7th 2013 @ 10:16am | ! Report

        I agree Albo, I thought it was obvious that the 20 min line was really just outlining how close it was and that MC had a tough decision to make.

        Sure set some tongues wagging on here 🙂

    • February 7th 2013 @ 10:21am
      Who Needs Melon said | February 7th 2013 @ 10:21am | ! Report

      I have more than usual optimism around the Tahs this year. But the one thing I think they lack is a clear leader? Is that because they have so many outstanding candidates? I don’t think so.

      I would like to see Hooper thrown the captaincy on occasion this season. I think he would be outstanding.

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