Mortlock takes back seat to Hoiles - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Mortlock takes back seat to Hoiles

By Adrian Warren 13/01/2009 07:58:05 PM Comments (0)

New Brumbies coach Andy Friend believes the captaincy will bring out the best in Stephen Hoiles and ease the load on Wallabies skipper Stirling Mortlock.

Hoiles, who has played 16 Tests, was appointed to lead the Super 14 side ahead of Mortlock and George Smith after the pair shared the duties last season.

Friend, who is about to embark on his first Super 14 campaign with the franchise, said the appointment recognised Wallaby backrower Hoiles' standing within the side.

"While Hoiles has been a very consistent footballer throughout his career, I believe that we are yet to see the best out of him and by giving him this responsibility, it will encourage him to realise that potential," Friend said.

"We were very fortunate to have a number of outstanding captaincy options from within our senior leadership group, however, it was agreed that Steve was the best man to take the team forward this season.

"Both George (Smith) and Stirling are adaptable members of the side and we want to allow them to have the opportunity to play football without having additional responsibility of the captaincy."

Hoiles, 27, said he felt comfortable captaining the team and fortunate to have world class leaders like Mortlock and Smith to call upon.

"While I am captain, I'm certainly not the only leader in this side, we've got an abundancy, so it's a good opportunity for myself to learn off these guys," Hoiles said.

"This is how Stirling got his opportunity.

"While George Gregan was still playing here and captaining the Wallabies, Stirlo took over."

A captain at schoolboy, junior and senior club level, Hoiles was hoping leadership duties would make him a more consistent player.

"I was inconsistent last year, I thought I had some really good games and some pretty quiet games," Hoiles said.

"I can't afford to do that this year as a senior player and one of the leaders."

Hoiles added just one cap and 50 minutes to his playing portfolio last year but said he just wanted to focus on the Brumbies rather than on any international aspirations.

"Last year I thought about it (Test rugby) a bit too much," Hoiles said.

The Brumbies missed out on the finals in the last four years under previous coach Laurie Fisher but Hoiles felt the team was on the verge of doing something "very special".

"This year is a fresh start with a new coaching staff, a lot of new faces, a lot of young guys," Hoiles said.

"I feel we've got a opportunity to try new things."

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