Anderson-Heather club captain at Otago

Sam Anderson-Heather
Sam Anderson-Heather
Sam Anderson-Heather will captain the Otago side this year — but he may not be the skipper in every game he plays.

The Otago squad for the upcoming Mitre 10 Cup was named on Thursday night by new coach Ben Herring and includes six new caps.

Herring confirmed yesterday Anderson-Heather (30) would be the club captain of the side but would not necessarily lead the team in every game.

Herring said the move has been done to help build leadership within the playing group and give Anderson-Heather — who captained the side last year —  time to be able to work hard pushing for his spot.

All Black Liam Coltman is also a contender for the hooking spot if he does not make the national squad, while Sekonaia Pole was the third hooker in the squad.Herring said he was a fan of the club captain approach which was used in England.

"He’ll be a figurehead, a guy that everyone can look up to. A respected sort of guy who, regardless if he plays, is the captain of the team," Herring said.

Ben Herring
Ben Herring
He said Anderson-Heather was a guy who would be part of the Otago campaign right from the outset and did not have Super Rugby commitments.

"He is going to be here, on the ground, and is someone the younger guys can go to and ask for advice."

Herring said the players would have the next two weeks away from Otago training and would then start training on Tuesdays and Wednesdays with Otago, before going fulltime in training on July 15. The players would be pulled out of club rugby from that date.

Otago would have a pre-season match against Southland in Alexandra on August 3 which would be followed by a short cam. The team will sleep in a wool shed.

The side will play in Christchurch on August 10 in the game of three halves against Canterbury and the All Blacks.

Those players who have not had a run in this game will play for the Sassenachs team which will take on  a Spartans side in Invercargill on August 12.

Otago will play Wellington in its first game of the Mitre 10 Cup on August 19.

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