Scrumhalf Nic Stirzaker will become the youngest Melbourne Rebels captain ever, after being appointed to the role for the 2016 season.
At 24, Stirzaker has been touted as a potential Wallaby ahead of this season and this promotion will do little to assuage those predictions.
The back has captained a senior side in the past, having led NRC side Melbourne Rising in 2014 on their run to a semi-final.
Rebels coach Tony McGahan said Sitrzaker showed maturity on and off the field and was pleased to be able to make a long-term captaincy appointment.
“Nic has a maturity beyond his years, with the ability to stay calm in high-pressure situations, adapt to constantly changing scenarios and lead from the front,” he said.
“Through the leadership selection process, we’ve been able to establish a group of players that bring different attributes, qualities and experiences.”
Stirzaker will be supported by a raft of experience with former co-captain Scott Fuglistaller named vice-captain and Tamati Ellison, Sean McMahon, Mike Harris, James Hanson and Jack Debreczeni completing the seven-man Rebels leadership group.
Stirzaker said he was looking forward to working with the group.
“While I’ll bring my own style to the role, it’s comforting to know that, along with the support of a very experienced leadership group, we’ve got an entire playing squad of players at the rebels who share in leading the club.”
Speaking to rugby.com.au at Wednesday’s Super Rugby launch, Stirzaker said he wanted to have a greater influence on matches in 2016.
“I think you hope you can influence games a bit more (as you get older),” he said.
“When you start your career you’re just a passenger trying to get through it and I think as you get on you can try and influence games a bit more and the result.”
Stirzaker has missed both Rebels trials with a “frighteningly frustrating” shoulder setback but said he was optimistic of a Round One return.
“Initially yes, it was frighteningly frustrating but you move past those things pretty quick,” he said.
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‘It’s all part of playing Rugby and just doing everything I can to be ready for round one.
The Rebels play the Force at nib Stadium on Saturday February 27, to kick off their Super Rugby campaign.