Cheika set to make tough call

It’s a tough and big call to make but Wallabies coach Michael Cheika is relishing the task of appointing Australia’s next skipper.

The captaincy is a race in two between incumbent Michael Hooper and Stephen Moore, who had the honour cruelly taken away by a season-ending knee injury in his first Test as skipper against France in June last year.

“It’s a tough call … it’s an important choice, but it’s enjoyable to have to tell someone that he is going to be the captain of Australia,” Wallabies coach Cheika told AAP.

“We’re comfortable with where we are at around our whole leadership team.

“Hooper was the previous captain while Stephen was out injured. I think it’s pretty logical … it’s fair to say.”

Moore’s injury paved the way for Hooper to become the Wallabies’ youngest Test captain at 22, going on to lead Australia on their spring tour of Europe under Cheika, who took over from dumped coach Ewen McKenzie.

Cheika says the man to captain the Wallabies at the Rugby Championship will also be in charge at the World Cup.

He ruled out multiple captains like some of the other codes have opted for.

Brumbies 92-Test veteran Moore would love nothing more than lead Australia again but said his focus remained on the field as the Wallabies commence their build up to the World Cup in September-October with the Rugby Championship beginning next month.

“It would be great to get another opportunity because of the way it panned out last year, but whatever my role is in the team, I’m going to do the best I can.”

“The tournament we have coming up is so critical, anything we do achieve in this period will give us plenty of momentum going into the World Cup,” Moore told AAP.

Moore hasn’t played under Waratahs mentor Cheika yet, but has got to know him from the Wallabies’ morning after sessions.

“Over the last six months meeting with Michael you definitely get the feeling that this is something you want to be a part of,” he said.

“We’ve talked specifically about the rugby side, but also about our identity and what we want to stand for as a team.”

Cheika said he would pick a squad of around 45 at the conclusion of the Super Rugby regular season this weekend, including the many still playing in the finals.

He will then whittle the squad down to 35 for the opening two Tests of the campaign against South Africa and Argentina.

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