There’s a new skipper for the Western Force

In a succession plan that has been 12 months in the making, star Super Rugby flanker David Pocock has taken over as Western Force skipper from Nathan Sharpe.

Sharpe, who has held the role since the Force’s inaugural season in 2006, is in the final year of his contract and will decide later this year whether to continue on into a 16th season in 2013.

Force coach Richard Graham felt it was the perfect time for Pocock to take over the captaincy, saying it would give the 23-year-old plenty of time to adjust to the role with Sharpe still around to give advice.

“I had a fairly clear strategy in mind about 12 months ago, and I’ve talked to Nathan over that period,” Graham said on Monday.

“I really felt it was important that we use Nathan’s experience, both in developing the next leader – which is David – and also using his leadership amongst the whole squad.

“That’s been an ongoing process now for 12 months.”

Pocock said he was honoured to be offered the role, and praised the leadership displayed by Sharpe over the years.

“I’ve learnt a lot from him and the great thing for me is he’ll still be there and I’ll be able to bounce ideas off him. He’ll definitely play a big part in the team,” Pocock said.

Graham said he would not be naming a vice-captain, but would instead draw upon the leadership qualities of a wide array of players at the club.

Pocock has notched 40 Tests for the Wallabies and won the 2010 John Eales medal as the nation’s best performer.

He has also earned nominations for the International Rugby Board Player of the Year in the past two seasons.

The 104kg powerhouse, nicknamed Bam Bam due to his powerful physique, has notched 55 Super caps since making his debut in 2006.

While he has received wide acclaim for his scintillating form on the field, his work off it has been just as impressive.

Pocock was named Young Australian of the Year in 2012 for his work in establishing the charity organisation Eighty-Twenty Vision, which helps disadvantaged communities in his native Zimbabwe.

by Buford Balony

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