Pocock named Western Force skipper
January 30, 2012
Wallabies flanker David Pocock takes over the Western Force captaincy from Nathan Sharpe © Getty Images
Wallabies flanker David Pocock has been named as captain of the Western Force for the forthcoming Super Rugby season.
Pocock will take the Perth-based franchise's reins from Nathan Sharpe who has led the Force for the past six seasons ever since their inception. Coach Richard Graham is confident of a smooth transition with the veteran lock set to remain a key sounding board for his 23-year-old successor who has served as vice-captain for the past two seasons.
Pocock has enjoyed a rapid rise through the ranks since making his Super Rugby in 2006 and having acted as stand-in captain for the final match of the 2011 campaign, he led the Wallabies to a convincing win against the Barbarians at Twickenham last November.
"I think it's a huge honour to captain a side, particularly one that I've been involved with for quite a while now. It's a big challenge but exciting at the same time and I'm looking forward to be given the opportunity to further contribute to the team," Pocock said.
"I see being a leader first and foremost as leading by your actions, however I know that there is a lot more to it and that's all part of the learning experience. I feel very fortunate to have been able to watch and learn from someone like Sharpie. He has had a huge influence on me.
"One of the really exciting things about taking on the role now is that Sharpie is still involved and I can continue to look to him for advice. Having his experience around will be invaluable," Pocock added.
"In a team environment it's not just one person that shoulders all the load, we've got quite a few guys that lead by their actions, I think the more people we can get like that in the team the better we'll be going forward."
Sharpe said Pocock was the ideal candidate to take the club forward and was certain the backrower would embrace the added leadership responsibilities and provide inspiration to players both young and old.
"The level of David's performances for the Emirates Western Force has been exceptional and I think that will also prove to be the case as he applies himself to the role as captain," Sharpe said. "I've seen him grow from a talented kid who joined the club straight out of school to become a game breaking player in both Super Rugby and for the Wallabies. David is a remarkable young man and a good friend, I will help him in any way that I can now and into the future.
"Serving as the inaugural captain at the Emirates Western Force has been a great honour in my career. It's the right time for a change, both for the club and me personally," said Sharpe.
Graham said Pocock had earned the respect of team-mates and everyone at the club through his professional dedication and approach to preparation and performance, and was thoroughly deserving of the position of captain. Graham also acknowledged Sharpe's significant contribution and leadership and said the big lock would continue to play a key role at the club.
"David aspires to be the best player in the world in his position and he holds himself to very high standards. He exhibits all the attributes you'd want to see in a leader and will be a strong character in representing the Emirates Western Force on and off the field," Graham said.
"Nathan has done a wonderful job leading and representing the team. Sharpie has always put the team first and we will continue to utilise his experience to develop the next generation of leaders at the club."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Firdose Moonda looks at the moves towards greater integration within South African rugby ... and what the future holds
Martin Gillingham looks ahead to what he believes is the most remarkable ever climax to the league phase of the Top 14
With just two rounds left in the regular season, we look at the prospects of the teams taking part in the Championship play-offs
Joe Simpson talks to Charlie Morgan about loss, Wasps and being England's game-breaker