JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

Wallaby Sharpe going out on his terms

Date
Nathan Sharpe, going out on his own terms.

Nathan Sharpe, going out on his own terms. Photo: AFP

Nathan Sharpe walks away from rugby this weekend on his terms, something which seemed inconceivable just over a year ago.

The 34-year-old brings the curtain down on his decorated career in Cardiff on Saturday when he leads out the Wallabies against Wales in his 116th and final Test.

It's a far cry from where the two-time John Eales Medallist (2007 and 2012) was just over a year ago.

Sharpe was reduced to being a fringe player at the 2011 Rugby World Cup and a controversial omission from Australia's 22-man squad for the semi-final defeat against the All Blacks in Auckland.

It appeared the Western Force second-rower, who made his Test debut against France in 2002, would be stranded on 99 Test caps as he headed towards retirement.

"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."

Wallabies coach Robbie Deans gave Sharpe a start in his 100th Test in the third-place playoff victory over Wales at the World Cup.

Sharpe had planned to quit at the conclusion of this year's Super Rugby season, but injuries to Deans' favoured locking combination, captain James Horwill and Dan Vickerman, changed that.

He was called up for the June internationals against Scotland and Wales, his form then prompting Deans to ask him to delay retirement for a bit longer.

When second and third-choice skippers David Pocock and Will Genia copped injuries at the start of The Rugby Championship, Sharpe was asked to lead Australia on their four-Test European tour.

Deans is full of praise for his skipper after helping the Wallabies in their hour of need.

"He's done a great job in that role this year," Deans said.

"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."

The Wagga Wagga product applauded everybody involved in the Wallabies' set-up for enduring a challenging season which amazingly they can finish as the world No.2 side with a win over Wales.

"It's been a tough year for Australian rugby with the injuries and the pressure but I've been really happy with the way the guys who have come on board have responded," Sharpe said.

"That sets a good marker for Australian rugby going forward because when the incumbent players come back there's going to be pressure across the board."

Sharpe is pleased he gets the chance that not many are afforded the luxury of in sport these days, going out on their own terms.

"A lot of my close mates in rugby didn't have the opportunity to say goodbye properly. I've been able to do that with the (Western) Force and now with the Wallabies as well. It's nice," he said.

"If you had have said to me when I started my career that I'd be playing my last Test as captain of my country I wouldn't have believed you."

Given the command Sharpe has with his teammates and his presence in everything involving the Wallabies, whether it's a press conference, training session or game, it's hard to believe this weekend's Test will be just his 10th as skipper.

But it's no surprise that Sharpe is such a good leader having learned from one of the Wallabies' best skippers in John Eales.

When Sharpe first arrived on the scene at Test level it was the likes of Eales and his fellow Queenslanders Tim Horan, Toutai Kefu and Chris Latham who he turned to for guidance.

"The Queensland guys really helped me make the transition into Test rugby and then further down the track too I learned from guys like Steve Larkham and George Smith," he said.

"I thought the way John Eales managed men around rugby on and off the field was outstanding.

"He's a guy I still ask for advice these days. He's a great fella and he understands people and has been great for my career."
Sharpe has played with plenty of champions over the years but says it's hardworking and unheralded players like prop Bill Young who he remembers as one of his favourite and most admired teammates.

"They're the guys that you want to play with. Those guys who do the hard stuff nobody sees. Bill Young used to put his body on the line and is the type of bloke you really appreciated as a teammate," Sharpe said.

"George Smith was another guy who didn't get enough credit. He put his body on the line for the team whenever he played and he just got on with it."

He's run into some pretty handy opponents too and Sharpe rates South Africa's Victor Matfield as the best lock he's come up against.

"He was composed, talismanic and was a great organiser of lineouts in any team he played in and he was skilful too," Sharpe said.

Sharpe played in three World Cups and his most memorable game came from the 2003 tournament when Australia scored an upset 22-10 win over the All Blacks in Sydney.

"It was the circumstances behind the win. New Zealand put 50 points on us in the last Bledisloe and they had gone on a record run," he said.

"No one else in that stadium thought we were going to win except for the guys on the field and even then we probably had a few guys that didn't.

"It's just the way we adapted our game plan and executed it that makes that game so special. It was a pretty precise bit of rugby."

He believes it's just a matter of time before the Wallabies will be challenging the All Blacks regularly after losing 14 of their past 18 clashes with New Zealand.

"They're in a period where they've got a lot of experienced players around. You don't win a World Cup without a grizzly team that's been around for a long time that's been through their share of heartbreak," Sharpe said.

"What they are also doing is bringing in a lot of young guys and you can see they're doing a good job with that right through their system.

"But Australia is going to get to that point as well once we've settled on five States playing in the competition.

"As our depth increases you put structures in place which allows that development.

"There's no doubt about it, we have to cut our own path and see what works for us and to make it an even better system. Those works are in progress."

Sharpe will move into the resources sector post rugby but says he will be involved in the game in some capacity in the future.

He hopes to be remembered as a player who always gave his best.

"If one of my teammates in the future is asked what I was like to play with, I'd hope they'd say he was a bloke who I wanted to play with and I wanted to play for. That would keep me happy."

AAP

HuffPost Australia

Super Rugby 2016

Round 1
Fri, 26 FebTimes shown AEDT
BLU 0vs HIG 0 17:35EP
BRU 0vs HUR 0 19:40GIO Stadium
Sat, 27 FebTimes shown AEDT
CHT 0vs Jagu 0 04:00FSS
Sunw 0vs LIO 0 15:15Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium
CRU 0vs CHF 0 17:35AMI
WAR 0vs RED 0 19:40AS
FOR 0vs REB 0 21:50nib Stadium
Sun, 28 FebTimes shown AEDT
King 0vs SHA 0 00:00NMBS
STO 0vs BUL 0 02:05DHL Newlands
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Fri, 04 MarTimes shown AEDT
CRU 0vs BLU 0 17:35AMI
BRU 0vs WAR 0 19:40GIO Stadium
Sat, 05 MarTimes shown AEDT
CHF 0vs LIO 0 15:15FMG Stadium Waikato
HIG 0vs HUR 0 17:35FBS
RED 0vs FOR 0 19:40SS
Sun, 06 MarTimes shown AEDT
BUL 0vs REB 0 00:00Loftu
CHT 0vs STO 0 02:05FSS
SHA 0vs Jagu 0 04:10GpKP
View All Fixtures
Round 3
Fri, 11 MarTimes shown AEDT
BLU 0vs HUR 0 17:35EP
FOR 0vs BRU 0 22:05nib Stadium
Sat, 12 MarTimes shown AEDT
HIG 0vs LIO 0 17:35FBS
REB 0vs RED 0 19:40AAMI
Sunw 0vs CHT 0 21:50Singapore National Stadium
Sun, 13 MarTimes shown AEDT
King 0vs CHF 0 00:00NMBS
STO 0vs SHA 0 02:05DHL Newlands
View All Fixtures
Round 4
Fri, 18 MarTimes shown AEDT
HUR 0vs FOR 0 17:35Central Energy Trust Arena
WAR 0vs HIG 0 19:40AS
Sat, 19 MarTimes shown AEDT
BUL 0vs SHA 0 04:00Loftu
Sunw 0vs REB 0 15:15Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium
CRU 0vs King 0 17:35AMI
RED 0vs BLU 0 19:40SS
Sun, 20 MarTimes shown AEDT
LIO 0vs CHT 0 02:05Emirates Airlines Park
STO 0vs BRU 0 04:10DHL Newlands
Jagu 0vs CHF 0 09:00Estadio Jose Amalfitani
View All Fixtures
Round 5
Fri, 25 MarTimes shown AEDT
HUR 0vs King 0 17:35WS
Sat, 26 MarTimes shown AEDT
CHF 0vs FOR 0 17:35FMG Stadium Waikato
REB 0vs HIG 0 19:40AAMI
Sunw 0vs BUL 0 21:50Singapore National Stadium
Sun, 27 MarTimes shown AEDT
CHT 0vs BRU 0 00:00FSS
SHA 0vs CRU 0 02:05GpKP
Jagu 0vs STO 0 09:00Estadio Jose Amalfitani
RED 0vs WAR 0 16:05SS
View All Fixtures
Round 6
Fri, 01 AprTimes shown AEDT
HIG 0vs FOR 0 17:35FBS
Sat, 02 AprTimes shown AEDT
LIO 0vs CRU 0 04:00Emirates Airlines Park
BLU 0vs Jagu 0 17:35QBE Stadium
BRU 0vs CHF 0 19:40GIO Stadium
Sun, 03 AprTimes shown AEDT
King 0vs Sunw 0 02:05NMBS
BUL 0vs CHT 0 03:10Loftu
WAR 0vs REB 0 16:05AS
View All Fixtures
Round 7
Fri, 08 AprTimes shown AEST
CHF 0vs BLU 0 17:35FMG Stadium Waikato
FOR 0vs CRU 0 21:00nib Stadium
Sat, 09 AprTimes shown AEST
STO 0vs Sunw 0 03:00DHL Newlands
HUR 0vs Jagu 0 17:35WS
RED 0vs HIG 0 19:40SS
Sun, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
SHA 0vs LIO 0 01:05GpKP
King 0vs BUL 0 03:10NMBS
View All Fixtures
Round 8
Fri, 15 AprTimes shown AEST
CRU 0vs Jagu 0 17:35AMI
REB 0vs HUR 0 19:40AAMI
Sat, 16 AprTimes shown AEST
CHT 0vs Sunw 0 03:00FSS
BLU 0vs SHA 0 17:35EP
WAR 0vs BRU 0 19:40AS
Sun, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
BUL 0vs RED 0 01:05Loftu
LIO 0vs STO 0 03:10Emirates Airlines Park
View All Fixtures
Round 9
Fri, 22 AprTimes shown AEST
HIG 0vs SHA 0 17:35FBS
REB 0vs CHT 0 19:40AAMI
Sat, 23 AprTimes shown AEST
Sunw 0vs Jagu 0 15:15Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium
HUR 0vs CHF 0 17:35WS
FOR 0vs WAR 0 19:40nib Stadium
STO 0vs RED 0 23:00DHL Newlands
Sun, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
King 0vs LIO 0 01:05NMBS
BRU 0vs CRU 0 16:05GIO Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 10
Fri, 29 AprTimes shown AEST
CHF 0vs SHA 0 17:35Yarro
FOR 0vs BUL 0 21:05nib Stadium
Sat, 30 AprTimes shown AEST
HIG 0vs BRU 0 15:15Rugby Park
BLU 0vs REB 0 17:35EP
RED 0vs CHT 0 19:40SS
Sun, 01 MayTimes shown AEST
LIO 0vs HUR 0 01:05Emirates Airlines Park
STO 0vs WAR 0 03:10DHL Newlands
Jagu 0vs King 0 07:00Estadio Jose Amalfitani
View All Fixtures
Round 11
Fri, 06 MayTimes shown AEST
CRU 0vs RED 0 17:35AMI
BRU 0vs BUL 0 19:40GIO Stadium
Sat, 07 MayTimes shown AEST
Sunw 0vs FOR 0 15:15Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium
CHF 0vs HIG 0 17:35FMG Stadium Waikato
WAR 0vs CHT 0 19:40AS
SHA 0vs HUR 0 23:00GpKP
Sun, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
King 0vs BLU 0 01:05NMBS
View All Fixtures
Round 12
Fri, 13 MayTimes shown AEST
HIG 0vs CRU 0 17:35FBS
REB 0vs BRU 0 19:40AAMI
Sat, 14 MayTimes shown AEST
HUR 0vs RED 0 17:35WS
WAR 0vs BUL 0 19:40AS
Sunw 0vs STO 0 21:45Singapore National Stadium
Sun, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
CHT 0vs King 0 01:05FSS
LIO 0vs BLU 0 03:10Emirates Airlines Park
Jagu 0vs SHA 0 07:00Estadio Jose Amalfitani
View All Fixtures
Round 13
Fri, 20 MayTimes shown AEST
CRU 0vs WAR 0 17:35AMI
Sat, 21 MayTimes shown AEST
RED 0vs Sunw 0 15:05SS
CHF 0vs REB 0 17:35FMG Stadium Waikato
FOR 0vs BLU 0 19:40nib Stadium
LIO 0vs Jagu 0 23:00Emirates Airlines Park
Sun, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
SHA 0vs King 0 01:05GpKP
BUL 0vs STO 0 03:10Loftu
View All Fixtures
Round 14
Fri, 27 MayTimes shown AEST
HUR 0vs HIG 0 17:35WS
WAR 0vs CHF 0 19:40AS
Sat, 28 MayTimes shown AEST
King 0vs Jagu 0 03:00NMBS
BLU 0vs CRU 0 17:35EP
BRU 0vs Sunw 0 19:40GIO Stadium
STO 0vs CHT 0 23:00DHL Newlands
Sun, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
BUL 0vs LIO 0 01:05Loftu
REB 0vs FOR 0 16:05AAMI
View All Fixtures
Round 15
Fri, 01 JulTimes shown AEST
CHF 0vs CRU 0 17:35ANZ National Stadium, Suva
BRU 0vs RED 0 19:40GIO Stadium
Sat, 02 JulTimes shown AEST
Sunw 0vs WAR 0 15:15Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium
HUR 0vs BLU 0 17:35WS
REB 0vs STO 0 19:40AAMI
CHT 0vs FOR 0 23:00FSS
Sun, 03 JulTimes shown AEST
LIO 0vs SHA 0 01:05Emirates Airlines Park
King 0vs HIG 0 03:10NMBS
Jagu 0vs BUL 0 07:00Estadio Jose Amalfitani
View All Fixtures
Round 16
Fri, 08 JulTimes shown AEST
BLU 0vs BRU 0 17:35EP
RED 0vs CHF 0 19:40SS
Sat, 09 JulTimes shown AEST
LIO 0vs King 0 03:00Emirates Airlines Park
CRU 0vs REB 0 17:35AMI
WAR 0vs HUR 0 19:40AS
FOR 0vs STO 0 21:45nib Stadium
Sun, 10 JulTimes shown AEST
BUL 0vs Sunw 0 01:05Loftu
SHA 0vs CHT 0 03:10GpKP
Jagu 0vs HIG 0 07:00Estadio Jose Amalfitani
View All Fixtures
Round 17
Fri, 15 JulTimes shown AEST
BLU 0vs WAR 0 17:35EP
RED 0vs REB 0 19:40SS
Sat, 16 JulTimes shown AEST
SHA 0vs Sunw 0 03:00GpKP
CRU 0vs HUR 0 15:15AMI
HIG 0vs CHF 0 17:35FBS
BRU 0vs FOR 0 19:40GIO Stadium
Sun, 17 JulTimes shown AEST
STO 0vs King 0 01:05DHL Newlands
CHT 0vs BUL 0 03:10FSS
Jagu 0vs LIO 0 07:00Estadio Jose Amalfitani
View All Fixtures
Round 18
Fri, 22 JulTimes shown AEST
TBC 0vs TBC 0 09:00
TBC 0vs TBC 0 09:00
Sat, 23 JulTimes shown AEST
TBC 0vs TBC 0 09:00
TBC 0vs TBC 0 09:00
View All Fixtures
Super Rugby Semi Finals
Fri, 29 JulTimes shown AEST
TBC 0vs TBC 0 09:00
Sat, 30 JulTimes shown AEST
TBC 0vs TBC 0 09:00
View All Fixtures
Super Rugby Grand Final
Sat, 06 AugTimes shown AEST
TBC 0vs TBC 0 09:00
View All Fixtures
Super Rugby 2016
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Blues 0 0 0 0 0 0
Waratahs 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Super Rugby 2016
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Brumbies 0 0 0 0 0 0
Chiefs 0 0 0 0 0 0
Crusaders 0 0 0 0 0 0
Force 0 0 0 0 0 0
Highlanders 0 0 0 0 0 0
Hurricanes 0 0 0 0 0 0
Rebels 0 0 0 0 0 0
Reds 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
 

Follow Us on Facebook

Featured advertisers