Cardiff Blues can today confirm that second row forward Paul Tito has been appointed Captain for the 2008/09 season.
Tito joined the Cardiff Blues from Taranaki in the summer of 2007 and made an instant impact with supporters, being voted Worthington's Player of the Year in his debut season, after making 22 appearances for the region.
The 30-year-old forward has previous captaincy experience having captained Taranaki, The Hurricanes, New Zealand Under-21's and has also led the New Zealand Maoris to victory in the 2006 Churchill Cup.
Speaking of the decision to accept the offer of captaincy, Paul Tito said,
"Dai asked me and there were a couple of things I wanted to do before accepting, such as talk to some of the senior players and make sure I had their full support. They were right behind me, which made the decision easy. There's no point trying to lead a team without some of the big boys supporting you. It was a decision I thought about for a while and I'm proud to be Captain of the Blues next season."
"It was good change for me coming over here and playing rugby on the other side of the world. It was a good season, but I was a bit disappointed with my performance against some of the bigger teams and that is something that I'm going to try to fix this year. When we have big games against the likes of Leicester and Bath I need to step up a little more and play a bit better."
"I was captain of New Zealand Under 21's back in 2000 and captained Taranaki for five or six years. I also captained New Zealand Maoris for a few years and also the Hurricanes a few times when some of the boys were injured. So I have a bit of captaincy experience but I think a Captain needs the backing of the other 21 in the squad to really get behind him. I'm not bigger than anyone else and feel anyone in the squad can come up to put their view across. I'm just a normal guy doing the Captains job but can still be one of the lads when I need to be."
"It's definitely a bit more pressure as you have to make the decisions but I don't think it will affect my game. Number 8, 9 and 10 are still big decision makers on the pitch when I've got my head in the scrum." Said Paul.
Speaking of the appointment, Cardiff Blues Director of Rugby David Young said, "Xavier has decided to step down as Captain after doing a great job for two years in the role for us."
"He also led the Auckland Blues for a number of years and felt that relinquishing the Captain's armband would help his own game."
"We are glad that Paul had agreed to become Captain for the forthcoming season. He has shown his leadership qualities both on and off the pitch since his arrival and is looking forward to the new season."
Season Ticket holders at Cardiff Blues are reminded that they gain FREE entry to the British & Irish Cup pool fixtures this season - starting with Saturday's home fixture against Nottingham Rugby at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park (kick-off 2.30pm).
Teenage Cancer Trust will be collecting for valuable funds at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park on Saturday afternoon ahead of our British & Irish Cup fixture with Nottingham Rugby (kick-off 2.30pm). Ahead of the game, we take a closer look at the charity and discover how they are making a difference...
Cardiff Blues suffered a first defeat of the season in the European Rugby Challenge Cup as a second half burst of tries from Harlequins saw the English side claim victory at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park.