Mortlock to call it quits

    2012-06-17 09:59

    Sydney - Former Wallaby skipper Stirling Mortlock on Sunday announced that he will retire at the end of the regular season of the Super Rugby competition next month.

    The 35-year-old will play his last game in Australia when he leads the Rebels against defending champions, the Reds, in Melbourne on June 29.

    He will end his playing career in South Africa next month where the Rebels, out of the reckoning for the playoffs, have their last two matches.

    Centre Mortlock has battled calf injuries this season and only got on to the field for the Rebels last month.

    "There's no secret I still love what I do and still love playing. It's more about my body," Mortlock told reporters on Sunday.

    "Being on the sidelines for nine of 10 weeks this season was extremely frustrating and tough. My body is back in the shape I want it to be but I think it is the right time (to retire)."

    Mortlock played 80 Tests for the Wallabies, 29 as captain, amassing 489 points, the fourth-highest Wallaby points-scorer, and has played more than 140 Super Rugby games with the Brumbies and Rebels.

    He won two Super Rugby championships with the Brumbies in 2001 and 2004.

    He is the highest-scoring Australian in Super Rugby history, the only Australian to rack up more than 1 000 points.

    A powerful runner and defender, Mortlock is best remembered for his 80m intercept try that steered the Wallabies to a shock semi-final win over the All Blacks in the 2003 World Cup in Sydney.

    He also landed a penalty kick from the sideline after the siren against South Africa in Durban to deliver Australia their first Tri Nations championship in 2000.

    Mortlock led the Wallabies at the 2007 World Cup where Australia were knocked out in the quarter-finals by England in Marseilles.

    This year Mortlock was awarded Member of the Order of Australia for service to rugby, particularly as captain of the Wallabies.

    "Since my first Wallabies tour in 1997 I have been able to travel the world with some amazing people, while playing the game I love," Mortlock said.

    "It really has been an incredible journey and it will take some time for this (retirement) to sink in."

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