It is an absolute honour and a privilege to be asked to captain Gloucester for the new season.
When I look around the squad, at all the world-class and massively experienced talent, that only doubles my pride at being considered worthy of leading this group.
New coach Nigel Davies has made a great start after what was a very difficult end to last season.
Bryan Redpath’s exit has been well-documented elsewhere, but the mood at the club after he left was very flat.
I started last season in the form of my life, but by the end of it I felt burned out and I was struggling.
We went to London Irish for the final game of last season, and I was bursting with pride to be captain of Gloucester for the first time.
Everyone knows what happened next as well, with me being sent off for fighting with David Paice.
That’s not good enough, and I know full well I cannot let that happen again.
I spoke with Nigel at the beginning of the summer about squad rotation, and he gave me some assurances that he will use all the players carefully.
I feel I really need that, because by the end of last term I was pretty much spent – as much my own fault as anyone else’s – and so I need to be wary of that this term.
I want to play for Scotland, but I want to be able to give absolutely everything I have to leading Gloucester.
When I take the field in a Cherry and White shirt, I want to know I am capable of giving everything I have to the cause.
I needed to have that chat with Nigel at the start of the summer, just to check a few things.
But I need not have worried – he has been really impressive since day-one, a real breath of fresh air.
I know there will be questions about my discipline after the last game of last season, but I honestly believe that with careful management, that won’t happen again.
I was making mistakes at the end of last term, playing poorly I felt, because I had probably simply played too many games.
That cannot happen again, because it’s disrespectful to everyone, and the club.
To receive Nigel’s endorsement for this role is a massive boost – and now I’ve got to repay that faith and prove myself worthy of the job.
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