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Sharpe caps resurgence with medal honour

Ben Robinson and partner at the John Eales Medal,  Darling Harbour. Click for more photos

John Eales Medal 2012

John Eales Medal, Sydney 2012. Photo: Anthony Johnson

Wallabies captain Nathan Sharpe beat David Pocock and rookie of the year Michael Hooper to win the John Eales Medal in Sydney on Thursday.

Four games from retirement, and in the thick of a late-term career renaissance, the veteran second-rower's teammates voted him the most outstanding contributor to the Wallabies for the year.

That is no mean feat, considering he did not make the match-day 22 for the Wallabies' World Cup semi-final against the All Blacks and was only asked to defer his retirement following an injury to James Horwill and the retirement of Dan Vickerman.

Top honour ... Wallabies captain Nathan Sharpe.

Top honour ... Wallabies captain Nathan Sharpe. Photo: Getty Images

Sharpe was also awarded the Australia's Choice player of the year award, which was voted by fans, and the inaugural Spirit of Rugby - Nick Farr-Jones award, for his services to the code.

Polling 1068 votes, the former Force captain beat the fans' second choice, Quade Cooper, by almost 400 votes.

Hooper, an outstanding contributor to the Wallabies since Pocock's knee injury elevated the Waratahs openside to the starting XV, was named rookie of the year.

He finished third in the overall John Eales Medal count, on 171 votes, after making his debut against Scotland in June. He rose rapidly in the rankings in the final six games of the season.

Pocock finished second on the ladder with 235 votes, 24 votes behind Sharpe (259). Berrick Barnes (160) and Will Genia (149) rounded out the top five.

The try of the year award went to prop Ben Alexander, for his effort against the Springboks in Perth during the Rugby Championship. Australia Sevens star Ed Jenkins was named Sevens player of the year and former ARU chairman Dick McGruther won the Joe French award for his services to rugby over 30 years.

Votes are cast on a three-two-one basis by each member of the 22-man match-day Wallabies squad after every Test played.

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Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Australia 4 4 0 0 106 17
Wales 4 3 1 0 49 13
England 4 2 2 0 58 11
Fiji 4 1 3 0 -17 5
Uruguay 4 0 4 0 -196 0
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Rugby World Cup 2015
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Scotland 4 3 1 0 43 14
Japan 4 3 1 0 -2 12
Samoa 4 1 3 0 -55 6
USA 4 0 4 0 -106 0
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Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
New Zealand 4 4 0 0 125 19
Argentina 4 3 1 0 109 15
Georgia 4 2 2 0 -70 8
Tonga 4 1 3 0 -60 6
Namibia 4 0 4 0 -104 1
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Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Ireland 4 4 0 0 99 18
France 4 3 1 0 57 14
Italy 4 2 2 0 -14 10
Romania 4 1 3 0 -69 4
Canada 4 0 4 0 -73 2
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