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Nathan Sharpe available for Rugby Championship

Date
Nathan Sharpe has made himself available for the Rugby Championship.

Nathan Sharpe has made himself available for the Rugby Championship. Photo: Getty Images

Wallabies forward Nathan Sharpe has agreed to extend his career for another two months, enabling the 104-Test veteran to compete in the inaugural Rugby Championship which features former Tri Nations teams, plus Argentina.

Coach Robbie Deans confirmed this morning that Sharpe will be available for Australia's six Tests in the Rugby Championship following the hamstring injury to James Horwill that is likely to result in the Wallabies skipper missing the rest of the season.

Sharpe's lineout jumping will be a big asset to the Wallabies in the coming months, particularly against South Africa.

Sharpe was due to retire at the completion of the Western Force's Super Rugby season next month.

"Sharpie's indicated he’s willing and keen to continue into the Rugby Championship, so that’s good news for the team,’’ said Deans.

‘‘He’s vastly experienced, been in this arena for a long time and you saw evidence of that in the death in the game the other night (win over Wales in second Test).’’

Deans said the decision to continue on wasn’t as straight forward as it would seem for the 34-year-old Western Force workhorse who debuted for the Wallabies way back in 2002.

‘‘Obviously it’s a big decision for Sharpie because it was a conscious choice of his to communicate that he was going to retire, intending to retire. That’s a big decision in any man’s life particularly a bloke who has played 100 Tests,’’ said Deans.

‘‘He’d made plans around his life beyond the game so he’s had to put them on hold and that’s never straight forward.’’

Deans ruled out the prospect of Sharpe continuing on into the end-of-year spring tour, and said his call to elevate NSW giant Sitaleki Timani to his starting team for Saturday’s final Test against Wales was about preparing for the future.

‘‘Well, clearly the day is coming when Sharpie’s not going to be available to us so we’ve got to prepare for that and we want to get Sita some exposure, bring him on,’’ said Deans, who moved Queensland lock Rob Simmons back to the bench.

‘‘Simmo’s had a big year, he’s played a lot of rugby ... they’re going to have to share that load and, the sooner we can bring guys like Sita on, the better it will be for us.’’

Recalled Wallabies fullback Kurtley Beale said Sharpe’s experience was invaluable.‘‘He’s a good man and to have someone of his calibre around the playing group certainly brings a lot of confidence,’’ said Beale.

with AAP

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Round 1
Fri, 13 FebTimes shown AEDT
CRU 10 vs REB 20 Report Stats
BRU 47 vs RED 3 Stats
Sat, 14 FebTimes shown AEDT
LIO 8 vs HUR 22 Stats
BLU 18 vs CHF 23 Report Stats
Sun, 15 FebTimes shown AEDT
SHA 29 vs CHT 35 Stats
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WAR 13 vs FOR 25 Stats
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Round 2
Fri, 20 FebTimes shown AEDT
CHF 19 vs BRU 17 Stats
REB 28 vs WAR 38 Stats
Sat, 21 FebTimes shown AEDT
BUL 13 vs HUR 17 Stats
HIG 20 vs CRU 26 Stats
RED 18 vs FOR 6 Stats
Sun, 22 FebTimes shown AEDT
STO 27 vs BLU 16 Stats
SHA 29 vs LIO 12 Stats
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Round 3
Fri, 27 FebTimes shown AEDT
HIG 20 vs RED 13 Stats
FOR 13 vs HUR 42 Stats
Sat, 28 FebTimes shown AEDT
CHT 25 vs BLU 24 Stats
CHF 40 vs CRU 16 Stats
REB 15 vs BRU 20 Stats
Sun, 01 MarTimes shown AEDT
BUL 43 vs SHA 35 Stats
LIO 19 vs STO 22 Stats
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Round 4
Fri, 06 MarTimes shown AEDT
CHF vs HIG 17:35WS
BRU vs FOR 19:40GIO Stadium
Sat, 07 MarTimes shown AEDT
BLU vs LIO 17:35QBE Stadium
RED vs WAR 19:40SS
Sun, 08 MarTimes shown AEDT
CHT vs BUL 02:05FSS
STO vs SHA 04:10DHL Newlands
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Round 5
Fri, 13 MarTimes shown AEDT
HUR vs BLU 17:35FMG Stadium
FOR vs REB 22:00nib Stadium
Sat, 14 MarTimes shown AEDT
CRU vs LIO 14:30AMI
HIG vs WAR 17:35FBS
RED vs BRU 19:40SS
Sun, 15 MarTimes shown AEDT
STO vs CHF 00:00DHL Newlands
CHT vs SHA 02:05FSS
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Round 6
Fri, 20 MarTimes shown AEDT
HIG vs HUR 17:35FBS
REB vs LIO 19:40AAMI
Sat, 21 MarTimes shown AEDT
CRU vs CHT 17:35AMI
Sun, 22 MarTimes shown AEDT
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SHA vs CHF 04:10Growthpoint Kings Park
WAR vs BRU 16:05AS
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Round 7
Fri, 27 MarTimes shown AEDT
HUR vs REB 17:35WS
RED vs LIO 20:00SS
Sat, 28 MarTimes shown AEDT
CHF vs CHT 14:30WS
HIG vs STO 17:35FBS
WAR vs BLU 19:40AS
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BUL vs CRU 04:10Loftus Versfeld
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Round 8
Fri, 03 AprTimes shown AEDT
HUR vs STO 18:35WS
REB vs RED 20:40AAMI
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Round 9
Fri, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
BLU vs BRU 18:35EP
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CRU vs HIG 18:35AMI
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Sun, 12 AprTimes shown AEST
BUL vs RED 00:00Loftus Versfeld
LIO vs SHA 02:05Emirates Airlines Park
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Round 10
Fri, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
CRU vs CHF 18:35AMI
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HUR vs WAR 15:30WS
HIG vs BLU 18:35FBS
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SHA vs BUL 02:05Growthpoint Kings Park
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Round 11
Fri, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
CHF vs FOR 18:35WS
BRU vs HIG 20:40GIO Stadium
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LIO vs CHT 02:05Emirates Airlines Park
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Round 12
Fri, 01 MayTimes shown AEST
HIG vs SHA 18:35FBS
BRU vs WAR 20:40GIO Stadium
Sat, 02 MayTimes shown AEST
BLU vs FOR 16:30EP
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Round 13
Fri, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
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Round 14
Fri, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
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Round 15
Fri, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
CHF vs BUL 18:35Rotorua International Stadium
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Round 16
Fri, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
CRU vs HUR 18:35Trafalgar Park
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Round 17
Fri, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
HUR vs HIG 18:35McLean Park
FOR vs BRU 22:00nib Stadium
Sat, 06 JunTimes shown AEST
REB vs BUL 16:30AAMI
BLU vs CRU 18:35EP
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Round 18
Fri, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
BLU vs HIG 18:35EP
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BUL vs CHT 02:05Loftus Versfeld
SHA vs STO 04:10Growthpoint Kings Park
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Round 19
Fri, 19 JunTimes shown AEST
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Round 20
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Round 21
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Hurricanes 3 3 0 0 47 13
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