Rugby: Pocock named Force captain

Australia international David Pocock has been named captain of the Western Force for the upcoming Super 15 season.

Rugby News: David Pocock, Western Force

The openside flanker takes over from veteran Nathan Sharpe, with the impressive 23-year-old stepping straight into the role for the start of the new campaign next month.

"I think it's a huge honour to captain a side, particularly one that I've been involved with for quite a while now," Pocock said.

"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.

"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."

Sharpe, who will continue to play on at the Force this term, said Pocock was the stand-out choice as new skipper.

"The level of David's performances for the 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."

The Force kick off their 2012 Super Rugby campaign with an away game against the Brumbies on Friday, February 24.

Pocock vowed not to let the prospect of a Wallabies leadership role distract him after being elevated to the post of Force skipper.

The 23-year-old, who got a brief taste of Australia's top job when he captained the Wallabies against the Barbarians on last year's tour of the United Kingdom and when James Horwill left the World Cup bronze play-off with injury with 10 minutes to go, is more focused on his club duties for now.

"I'm pretty keen to see how I go with the Force first," Pocock said when asked if he would like to captain Australia one day.

"Over the past 12 months there have been discussions between me and [coach Richard Graham] and Nathan so it wasn't a surprise [to be made captain].

"It's obviously something I think is good for the club going forward and I'm pretty excited to be involved in this role."

Graham said he was confident Pocock, the youngest captain of an Australian Super Rugby team, would thrive in the leadership role.

"I think the work he does off the field shows how selfless he is as a character, and in serving the team that will be very important," the coach said.

"He leads by example and sets high standards for himself."

Meanwhile, Graham said the Force were still weighing up their options regarding a replacement for fly-half Willie Ripia, who left the club in early January after he was caught stealing from his team-mates.

"I've got a lot of names and I've been scouring the world," he said.

"I'm just going to wait until after this first trial on the weekend and see if we come away with any injuries and see if we're in good shape. I'll make a decision on that in the next 10 days or two weeks."

James Stannard - a scrum-half who filled in admirably when given number 10 duties late last season - and uncapped pair Ben Seymour and Kyle Godwin are the Force's only recognised fly-halves.

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