The Rebels on Wednesday announced joint vice-captains for the 2012 Super Rugby season.
As part of the Melbourne club’s leadership succession plan, Hugh Pyle – one of the franchise’s developing leaders – and inaugural vice-captain Gareth Delve will share the position this year.
Before joining the Rebels, Delve had captained Gloucester in the English premiership and, in 2011, became the first non-Australian to captain an Australian side in Super Rugby (Round 9 v Highlanders).
Delve said he was looking forward to guiding Pyle through the next 12 months.
“I am fortunate to have gained some great experience throughout my career and learned off some terrific leaders. I thoroughly enjoyed my experience as vice-captain and I am honoured that the club have chosen to retain me in this role,” said Delve.
“It is an exciting time to be a part of the Rebels and Hugh Pyle is an impressive young man. I look forward to guiding Hugh, while allowing him to develop his own style of leadership. We are both fortunate to have Stirling Mortlock as our captain and we look forward to providing him all of the necessary support.”
Pyle had no previous Super Rugby experience before joining the Rebels but, after a strong 2011 season, he was named in the Wallabies post-season training squad.
It has been a meteoric rise for the young lock and Pyle admits it has been a little surreal.
“Initially, I was just happy to be playing Super Rugby and was focused on securing a spot in the starting 15,” said Pyle.
“With the help of the coaching staff and my team-mates, I managed to have a solid 2011. The fact the club has been willing to put so much faith in me is very humbling and I am just focused on repaying that faith.
“I honestly do not believe I would be in this position without the support of my team-mates. We are blessed with a number of strong leaders at the club and it is their guidance that has helped me develop. It is a real privilege to have Gareth and Stirling at my side and I will certainly be turning to both for advice throughout the year.”
Rebels head coach Damien Hill said he was thrilled with his new-look leadership team.
“Having such high-quality individuals in this position is very encouraging, especially as we prepare to face the many challenges ahead,” said Hill.
“I am confident that with Gareth and Stirling’s guidance, Hugh will accelerate his development as a future leader of our club.
“Both players thoroughly deserve this honour and I am very pleased to see Hugh develop his skills under players of Gareth’s and Stirling’s calibre. He is in very good hands.”
© AAP 2012