Rugby

Sharpe braces for final bow

2012-11-30 18:38
Nathan Sharpe (Gallo Images)
Cardiff - Wallabies captain Nathan Sharpe has admitted that hiding his emotions was proving tough ahead of Australia's match against Wales on Saturday which will mark his retirement after 116 caps and three World Cups.

Ironically for the Wagga Wagga-born Sharpe, his final match comes against a side that also courted his services thanks to the spurious link that he qualified through his grandfather Percy, who was born in Wales during a family holiday.

Then-Wales coach Graham Henry, never shy in his efforts to attract new talent to the Prinicipality, caught whiff of the dual-qualified Sharpe and telephoned the up-and-coming uncapped lock to see where the land lay.

But the 34-year-old said it had never been a "realistic option" to turn his back on Australia.

"You can't look back in life," Sharpe said of Henry's overtures. "In reality it was just something I was looking at at the time and it was never really going to happen."

Sharpe acknowledged that he was trying desperately to keep a lid on his nerves.

"This is it," he said Friday after leading his team through their final training session at the Millennium Stadium.

"It was emotional today. It hit me this morning just as we had our jersey presentation. It's something you can never prepare for fully. I'm not one to get caught in the moment, but it was a hard session to go through today."

Sharpe was a fringe player at last year's World Cup and a controversial omission from Australia's 22-man squad for the semi-final defeat against the All Blacks in Auckland.

But coach Robbie Deans recalled him to win his 100th Test cap against Wales in the third-place play-off, and the veteran was then summoned for the European tour after injuries to preferred boilerhouse combination Dan Vickerman and then-captain James Horwill.

"He's done a great job in that role this year," Deans said of his fourth choice captain after injuries to Horwill, scrum-half Will Genia and flanker David Pocock.

"He's given this young group a great start. He's been a good source of counsel, a good source of composure and has led effectively as well."

Sharpe, who won his first Test cap against France back in 2002, will be lining up against Wales for a record 14th time and a victory would represent the 70th Test win of the lock's career.

His 116 Tests will leave him as the second most capped Australian of all-time, and the sixth most capped player in the history of the game (behind ex-Wallaby George Gregan, Irish duo Brian O'Driscoll and Ronan O'Gara, Englishman Jason Leonard and Fabien Pelous of France).

Sharpe, who has played in three World Cups and rates South Africa's Victor Matfield as his toughest rival, said he had been blessed during his career, writing off moments when he was dropped from the Wallaby squad.

"That's just the way life rolls out and the way the cards fall. Those things happen and you just have to move on from them," Sharpe said.

"Everyone's career goes through those peaks and troughs I suppose. I don't have any issues with anything that's happened. I've been very lucky in my career."

Sharpe ruled out a move in coaching saying he had seen enough of the "pressure head coaches are put under", but adding that he expected to be involved in the game in some capacity in the future.

Read more on:    wallabies  |  wales  |  nathan sharpe  |  rugby
NEXT ON SPORT24X

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

 

17 photo illusions that look so real

What if they aren’t illusions? What if that dog really has a human foot – then what?

 
 

For chic geeks...

It’s THIS easy for someone to steal your ATM pin!
Check out the speed of this robo-cheetah!
New GIF keyboard on iOS for added fun!
Puppy goes crazy over iPad game
 
 
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

Featured

Dave ask if you would like to meet your local sports heroes and stand the chance to win prizes to the value of over R40 000.

Latest blogs
Vote

After their narrow defeat to the All Blacks in Wellington, the Springboks will be relishing their "return" clash at Ellis Park. Or will they... ? Who do you see winning in Johannesburg?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

Newsletters Sign up for the Morning Glory, Super 15 and Soccer newsletters

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

Mobile Sport24 on your mobile phone - WAP, alerts, downloads, services

Forum Have your Say on Sport24's brand new Forum!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

Blogs Yes your opinion counts. Get it out there

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.