Lealiifano named Brumbies co-captain
Cape Town - Wallabies utility back Christian Lealiifano and lock Sam Carter have been named as co-captains of the Brumbies for the 2017 season.
The duo will lead the Brumbies into the 2017 Super Rugby campaign with Carter performing on-field duties whilst Lealiifano continues his recovery from the bone-marrow transplant undertaken late last year.
Carter, capped 13 times by the Wallabies alongside 79 Super Rugby appearances for the Brumbies, led the team in the 59-0 trial win over the Australian Barbarians last weekend and is relishing the opportunity of a leadership role.
"It’s a huge honour for me, I’m really excited about the season ahead," he told the Brumbies' official website.
"He (Stephen Larkham) told me a couple of weeks ago and it was a little bit of a shock but it was also something I wanted, I was confident that I could fulfil the role.
"We’ve got huge leaders in the team, we’ve got blokes with massive experience and that can only help moving forward. The boys in the team really look up to them and that makes my job easier."
A product of rugby nursery The Scots College in Sydney, Carter has been a force at lock for the Brumbies since making his debut in 2011. Never one to take a step back, the 2m tall workhorse was included in the Wallabies 2015 World Cup squad despite suffering a knee injury prior to the tournament.
Carter’s determination to return from injury is just one of the many reasons he is now regarded as the premier-tight-head lock in Australian Rugby.
Lealiifano’s presence around the squad will no doubt be a huge tonic for the group as head coach Stephen Larkham confirmed after announcing the co-captaincy during the formal Season Launch proceedings.
"You can see a noticeable lift when Christian is around," said Larkham.
"He’s a motivator and he’s got immense respect from the players.
"I’m optimistic about a possible return for Christian and, whilst playing this season is unlikely, we hope he will be in a position to train with the squad later in the year."
The Brumbies continue their pre-season preparations this weekend when they travel to Mudgee to take on the Waratahs in a trial match at Glen Willow Regional Sports Stadium.