Wilson given nod as Nottingham captain
The New Zealand flanker, who joined the Green and Whites from Newcastle in November last year, was a popular choice among Green and Whites management and players after impressing as stand-in skipper late last season.
The 30-year-old says being appointed as successor to Nottingham’s longest serving captain Craig Hammond, who recently left to club after 11 years to take up the post as player-coach of Hong Kong Scottish, is the proudest moment of his career.
Since bursting onto the scene for Nottingham against Pontypridd in the British and Irish Cup last November, Wilson quickly went on to distinguish himself as one of the club’s most influential figures. So much so that he was voted Player’s Player of the Season for 2011/12.
“I’ve got pretty big shoes to fill, following Hamo who did so much for this club over so many years,” Wilson said.
“It’s a huge honour to be captain of a club with 135 years of tradition, and even more so at a time of such significant change with a new head coach in Martin Haag taking over.
“I’m overjoyed to be stepping up as skipper knowing that my teammates and management were happy with how I performed when I led the team last season and that Martin has been impressed with how I’ve performed during the few weeks of pre-season with him.”
Haag regards Wilson as someone who embodies what he wants in a captain – a combatant who leads by example, boasts a successful track record and who is held in high esteem by his peers.
“Brent has all the right qualities, and upholds all the values to drive this club both on and off the field,” Haag said.
“He has a lot of experience, particularly at the top level with Newcastle, and that is an invaluable asset in helping us reach our goals this season.
“The way Brent goes about his business garners a huge amount of respect from teammates, in terms of how he plays the game and trains.”
Wilson will spearhead Nottingham’s leadership group which includes stalwart David Jackson, lock Nic Rouse, Japan international fly-half James Arlidge, half-back Sean Romans and the fast-rising Finlay Barnham.
It’s a brains trust that Wilson knows he can rely on.
“There are a lot of respected voices in this team,” Wilson said.
“Anything and everything we do this season is going to be achieved as a team, and that starts with the leadership group.”
Brent Wilson fact file
Born: 9/09/81 in Napier, New Zealand
Playing position: Flanker
Nottingham Rugby record: 16 Apps, 10 Points (2 tries)
Nottingham Rugby debut: v Pontypridd (British and Irish Cup), November 13, 2011
Nottingham Rugby captaincy: First appearance against Doncaster on February 15, 2012.
Former clubs: Newcastle Falcons (2006-2011), North Harbour (New Zealand)