How many times have you heard that question?
The Rugby Ref asks that question up to half a dozen times a week. Twice on a Wednesday at a schools game, twice on a Saturday at a club game and twice on a Sunday at an U19 game.
Of course, in a good team The Rugby Ref doesn't have to ask, because the Captain introduces himself when the referee arrives, this makes The Rugby Ref feel good. On the other hand, if he asks the question and the response is "who's Captain this week fellas?", then this makes The Rugby Ref feel sad, because he is in for a tough time.
So what makes a good Captain? It depends who you ask. Some would say a good Captain is a good organiser who can collect the subs, get the kit washed, make sure the team arrives at the right place on the right day, etc, etc. Others would say a good Captain is one who commands respect on the field and can inspire the players under him. So maybe each team should have two Captains? An on-field Captain and an off-field Captain! The really good Captains of course, can do both.
The Rugby Ref wants the Captain to be someone the other players will listen to. He wants the Captain to be someone who is proactive and sets an example to his team. He doesn't want the Captain to be the first player to start a fight, or the one who ignores his team's dissent or appealing. The Rugby Ref wants a Captain who, when told "your team are killing the ball at the breakdown, get them to stay on their feet, or you leave me nowhere to go", will actually speak to his players.
In short the Captain is the referee’s conduit to the team. They need to work together.
What is music to The Rugby Refs ears? The Captain who says "sorry ref, let me deal with it, it won't happen again", this Captain has saved his team a few penalties.
Are great Captain’s born or bred? They can be born, some men are just natural leaders. But not many, so most have to be trained how to lead. It’s not hard, the armed forces do it all the time, so why don’t rugby clubs and rugby coaches train their Captains to lead? A good Captain who takes notice of the referee, who communicates and inspires is a vital part of any team, so let’s train him in the same way we train the forwards to ruck and the backs to run.
Now,......... who "is" your Captain?