Michael Hooper gives up Waratahs captaincy

Michael Hooper runs the ball for the Waratahs during their win over the Brumbies Scott Barbour/Getty Images

Wallabies captain Michael Hooper has stood down as skipper of the NSW Waratahs, with Test lock Rob Simmons taking over the job and utility back Kurtley Beale the Tahs' new vice-captain. ..

Openside flanker Hooper, who has been fulltime captain of the Tahs for the past four seasons, still intends making himself available to be Wallabies skipper.

"The decision has been a long one and this has been something on my mind in this environment a good 18 months, so it hasn't been something on a whim." Hooper said.

"It's been an honour to represent New South Wales as a player alone, but the opportunity to lead a fantastic group of men over the journey to date has been a humbling experience.

"It's a role that I've thoroughly enjoyed, but I feel that the time is right for someone like Rob to lead this group in the season ahead.

"Someone of his quality and character both on and off the field, leading this young team around will be extremely valuable moving forward - he has the full support of myself and the wider leadership team in building a culture we feel will bring NSW success in Super Rugby."

Simmons becomes the 172nd captain of the NSW Waratahs in their 146-year history.

"It's a proud moment for me and my family, to be named captain of an organisation that has such a profound place in Australian rugby history is really special," Simmons said.

"The significance of being selected by my teammates as their leader in 2020 is certainly not lost on me and it's been an extremely humbling experience as we approach the new season.

"I've always prided myself on having a team-first mentality and that won't change [with this role]."

NSW Waratahs Head Coach, Rob Penney congratulated Hooper on his service and welcomed the appointment of Simmons.

"We've had a number of conversations about this and we feel that this [appointment] is in the best interest of the entire squad," Penney said.

"Rob has shown himself to be an incredible leader in my short time here at the [NSW] Waratahs, his presence around the group and his experience at provincial and international level will be an invaluable resource for our younger boys."