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Super Rugby
Melbourne Rebels name Scott Higginbotham captain
ESPN Staff
December 9, 2013
Scott Higginbotham has praised the structures put in place by Tony McGahan

Melbourne Rebels have announced Scott Higginbotham as team captain for the 2014 season after he filled in for the injured Gareth Delve numerous times in the 2013 season. Higginbotham made the move from Queensland Reds to the Rebels in 2013 and played a huge part in the side's season leading the side to their first win over New South Wales Waratahs in Melbourne.

Higginbotham was unlucky to miss the backend of the 2013 season after undergoing a full shoulder reconstruction. After several months of rehabilitation Higginbotham is looking forward to leading the young squad and building upon the small improvements the young club has made.

"It's a huge honour to be named as captain of a club for the first time in my career," Higginbotham said. "I look forward to repaying the faith of the coaching staff and the support of our Members by leading this young and talented group of guys to success.

"I love leading the boys onto AAMI Park and it's great to see how they have taken to this pre-season in such a professional and positive way. It's been our toughest ever and I can't wait for the 2014 Super Rugby season to begin.

"We are looking to step up next season, not just as 23 Rebels on the field, but also as a code in Victoria. The Rebels now truly belong to the Victorian rugby community and the aim is to have a world-class rugby program here in Melbourne and build on strong foundations."

Higginbotham may have been the obvious choice as the 2014 captain, but head coach Tony McGahan wanted to be sure the player was fully fit before he was given the role.

"Scott's leadership credentials are there for all to see," Tony McGahan said. "His ability to inspire his teammates on the field, and to communicate clearly and effectively with match officials, meant that it was always going to be hard for any of his teammates to usurp him into the captaincy role.

Scott Higginbotham said he was honoured to have been given the Rebels' captaincy © Getty Images

"In saying that, I wanted to observe Scott during the Club's pre-season before making such a crucial recommendation to [CEO] Rob Clarke and the Board. Scott was, until recently part of the rehab group however his dedication to his training, alongside great support from the club's physiotherapy and rehabilitation staff, has seen him re-join the main squad well ahead of schedule.

"Scott's efforts to motivate and encourage his teammates, as well as to demand excellence from them, were unaffected by his inability to join the main squad for training. I have certainly seen enough from Scott since coming to the club, as well as through working alongside him previously for the national side, to believe he is the man to lead this club and its members to success in the immediate future.

"I certainly don't believe that Scott's captaincy skill set is the finished article just yet. The best thing about this early appointment is that it allows Scott to continue to grow into the role, and to lead by example both on and off the field."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd

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