Whitaker ready to cherish every moment - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Whitaker ready to cherish every moment

By Wayne Heming 22/10/2003 06:56:36 PM Comments (0)

It was a few days late but Chris Whitaker's birthday present from Wallaby coach Eddie Jones is something he will always cherish and remember.

Whitaker, who turned 29 on Sunday, has been named captain of the Wallabies for their World Cup pool A match with Namibia in Adelaide on Sunday, an honour he described in one word as "huge".

"For Eddie to give me the captaincy is a huge honour," said Whitaker who has not started a Test since his World Cup debut against the USA in 1999.

For the record, Whitaker has been selected 58 times from which he has played 16 times, starting twice and coming off the bench 14 times as George Gregan's understudy.

"I think it's one of those things that won't hit me until years down the track when I'm sitting at home watching the Wallabies run around," said Whitaker who has never complained about his frustrating role as insurance against a player that rarely misses a game.

"I'm just stoked to have a starting spot, anything else is just a massive bonus."

Jones was furious to read claims Whitaker's appointment was made as a reward for the Waratahs' service and loyalty which included a period between November 2000 and August 2002 when he made two appearances off the bench in 18 straight game.

"We've picked a side specifically for this game in the World Cup and the best captain for this side is Chris Whitaker," said Jones, fuming at criticism of the selectors' decision.

"To say it is a tokenism, we're really offended because Whits is the best person to captain Australia in this game, full stop."

Flanker David Croft, who plans to take full advantage of his first run-Test against Namibia, spoke for his teammates who applauded Whitaker's appointment as captain.

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2020 AAP

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