Cardiff Blues have unveiled No 8 Xavier Rush as captain for the 2006/07 season.
The 29 year old has impressed all in his first season since moving to Wales from New Zealand, with both his aggressive attacking play and leadership qualities.
Rush had a very successful period as captain of the Auckland Blues winning the NPC title, Ranfurly Shield and the clinching the Super 12 title. He has endeared himself to the supporters with his commitment and enjoyed a great night in their company during the Supporters Club dinner.
The Supporters Club will present him with his award for the Cardiff Blues Player of the Season at the Blues Family Fun Day on Sunday the 16th of July.
Speaking of the his appointment Rush said, Since making the move to Cardiff Blues form the Auckland Blues I have been overwhelmed by the warm welcome I have received from the supporters.
"My first year at the Blues has been a very enjoyable one and I have been made totally at home in the Arms Park. To be appointed as the new Captain for Cardiff Blues is a true honour and I am very proud to be offered the role.
"I think our performances at the end of last season show what this side is capable of and Im looking forward to leading the side out next season. We have been working hard in training and we are confident that the hard work will pay dividends in the new season.
David Young Cardiff Blues Director of Coaching added,
Xavier has proved to be an outstanding player for us and his leadership qualities both on and off the field have been very evident.
"He has many attributes such as the physicality he brings to the game and also a wealth of experience. His influence on the pitch is immense and his professionalism is sure to rub off on all the other players in the squad.
"I would like to thank Rhys for all his commitment and dedication as Cardiff Blues Captain last season, he was big help to me and I felt he did an excellent job as a Captain, but its more important to both of us that he is back playing to the form that he is capable of. Im sure he has developed as a player after carrying the responsibility Captaincy
Commenting on the appointment Rhys Williams said,
Obviously I was very honoured to be Captain of Cardiff Blues last season and I enjoyed the experience. Having spoken with the coaches we have decided the same thing: that it is better for me not have the extra weight of captaincy. Maybe I have to be more selfish and concentrate on my own game.
"It has been a learning curve for me and being the Captain of a top class side gives you a great insight in to the hard work that captains and coaches put in and also the pressure and strains they are under. I am proud that we finished as the highest placed Welsh region and as Ive said it was a great privilege to Captain the Blues.
"I feel Im still young enough to Captain again sometime in the future. I dont think people saw the best of me last season and I hope with the freedom to concentrate solely on my own game I will get my old form back. I enjoyed the experience and its one I wouldnt change. It obviously goes without saying that Xavier will have my full support.