Mortlock to maintain captaincy

Stirling Mortlock is the favourite to lead the Wallabies in France when the World Cup squad is announced later today.

George Gregan was expected to resume his role as the skipper of Australia after returning to form. It was undecided at the beginning of the year whether he was the first-choice scrumhalf, and so Mortlock was handed the job.

Gregan is likely to start all the big games at the World Cup but Mortlock’s form and leadership this year must surely see him maintaining the captaincy. The Wallabies weren’t given much of a chance at the beginning of the Vodacom Tri-Nations, but it came down to Saturday’s game in Auckland to decide who won the trophy and the Bledisloe Cup. This campaign will have given them plenty of confidence and a change in leadership may cause unnecessary unrest.

Mortlock diplomatically stated this would not be the case. He believes he can handle the responsibility, but the core of senior players will make the captain’s job infinitely easier.

“I have been really honoured to be the captain … co-captain with Phil Waugh,” he told rugbyheaven. “On the end of season tour, I learned a lot about being captain of the Wallabies. I feel I have found my feet somewhat and am always looking for ways to improve, but we have really solid leadership group in this team now.

“There are about five or seven guys who have a huge dramatic impact on how the team performs on and off the field. All those guys have contributed a huge amount to my leadership as well.”