With the commencement of the 2016-17 Aviva Premiership and Guinness Pro12 seasons upon us, we list the protagonists of each team. Here are the captains...
Bath Rugby – Guy Mercer – It was two pre-season wins from two for Bath, who beat Yorkshire Carnegie 20-14 followed by a 32-17 drubbing of the Scarlets. Impressive performances in the shirt see Guy Mercer take up the captaincy role from Stuart Hooper.
Bristol Rugby – Jack Lam – The Samoan flanker will lead Bristol in their return to the Aviva Premiership. The 28-year-old will get his first taste of Premiership action against Harlequins.
Exeter Rugby – Jack Yeandle – The homegrown hooker will lead Exeter for the 2016/17 season. Having registered pre-seaon wins over Ulster and the Scarlets, Yeandle, alongside new Chiefs signings Ollie Devoto, Dave Dennis and Greg Holmes start the new season on a high.
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Gloucester Rugby – Greg Laidlaw – The Scottish scrum-half will captain the Cherry and Whites throughout the 2016/17 season, and is aiming for a top four finish.
Harlequins – Danny Care – The England No. 9 will lead out Quins in their first game of the season against Bristol, in the London Double header at Twickenham, on 3 September. The absence of Nick Easter will be felt across the Quins squad, and Care could be the man to fill his natural leader role.
Leicester Tigers – Tom Youngs – With over 100 appearances for his club, Tom Youngs epitomises the traditional on-field attitude of a Tiger. “I am a Leicester Tiger born and bred, I love the club and everything it stands for. To be captain is a huge honour and I’m very pleased to be given the opportunity.”
Careful eye: Danny Care will captain Quins for the 2016/17 season Rugby World
Newcastle Falcons – Will Welch – The Falcons’ back-rower will continue to carry out captain’s duties throughout the 2016/17 season. It will mark his fourth season in the role.
Northampton Saints – Tom Wood – After recently signing a new contract with the Saints, Tom Wood will remain club captain. The 29-year-old has made 129 appearances for Northampton, and will be hoping to lead them to silverware this season.
Sale Sharks – Josh Beaumont – The No 8 has replaced Daniel Braid as captain of Sale, after the Kiwi retired to join the Sharks’ coaching staff. Leadership qualities must run in the family, as the 24-year-old’s father, Bill Beaumont, led England on 21 occasions.
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Saracens – Brad Barritt – After helping Sarries achieve Premiership and European Cup glory last year, Barritt has been given the captaincy reigns. He replaces Alistair Hargreaves, who missed the backend of last season through injury.
Wasps – Joe Launchbury – Launchbury, now entering his seventh season at Wasps, has been given the role of club captain for the 2016/17 season. He replaces James Haskell – who will miss a large chunk of the season through injury – and Matt Mullan.
Worcester Warriors – GJ Van Velze – The 28-year-old South African gets the captaincy nod. It will mark his third season in charge of the Warriors.
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Benetton Rugby – Alessandro Zanni – Alessandro Zanni will captain Benton Treviso for the 2016/17 season. His side will benefit greatly from the appointment of Marco Bortolami to the coaching staff.
Cardiff Blues – Gethin Jenkins – The talismanic prop will captain Wales’ capital region for the 2016/2017 season. The Blues have played two pre-season fixtures, first losing to their Welsh counterparts Newport Gwent Dragons, before registering a victory over Bristol.
Connacht Rugby – John Muldoon – After leading Connacht to their first ever Pro12 championship, John Muldoon returns to serve as his club’s captain, as Pat Lam’s men look to go back-to-back in the league.
Defending champions: John Muldoon is Connacht's captain for 2016/17 Rugby World
Edinburgh Rugby – Stuart McInally and Grant Gilchrist will co-captain Edinburgh for the 2016/17 Pro12 season. Both Scotland internationals, the two 26-year-olds have donned the black & red of Edinburgh a combined 156 times.
Glasgow Warriors – Jonny Gray & Henry Pyrgos – Jonny Gray will share the Warriors captaincy with Henry Pyrgos this season, after the 22-year-old led Glasgow in the back end of last season – after the departure of Al Kellock.
Leinster Rugby – Isa Nacewa – The 34-year-old Fijian will captain the Irish province for the 2016/17 season. Nacewa returned to Leinster last season, and scored nine tries in 23 matches for the men in blue. His vast club experience makes him the perfect man for the job.
Leinster legend: Isa Nacewa has been appointed the club's captain Rugby World
Munster Rugby – Peter O’Mahony – Munster’s new Director of Rugby, Rassie Erasmus, has chosen Peter O’Mahony to continue as club captain for the 2016/17 season. O’Mahony missed last season though a cruciate knee ligament injury, but is set to make a return in September.
Newport Gwent Dragons – Lewis Evans – Lewis Evans will take over the Dragon’s captaincy role from T Rhys Thomas for the 2016/17 season. Evans’s loyalty has been rewarded – it’ll be the back rower’s 11th season in a Gwent shirt.
Ospreys – Alun-Wyn Jones – After extending his contract with Ospreys, Alun-Wyn Jones will captain the Swansea men for the 2016/17 season, with intentions fixed on improving on last seasons’ 8th position finish in the league.
Captain fantastic: Alun Wyn Jones retains the captaincy at the Ospreys Rugby World
Ulster Rugby – Andrew Trimble & Rob Herring – A shared captaincy for the Ulstermen’s 2016-17 campaign. Trimble is the most capped player in the Ulster squad with 206 appearances, whilst Herring has had experience of leading the side in Rory Best’s absence last season. The duo will hope that the addition of winger Charles Piutau and flanker Marcell Coetzee can bolster their team’s chances of a Pro12 title.
Zebre Rugby – George Biagi – George Biagi will captain Zebre for the 2016/17 Pro12 season. The Scottish-born lock’s side finished four points ahead of their Italian counterparts last season, but have parted with 16 members of last year’s squad.
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