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.

Warrior Sharpe wary of Wales as Wallabies get ready for war

Date

Retirement looms, but the veteran refuses to look past the next game, writes Georgina Robinson.

Going out at the top … Nathan Sharpe, the Wallabies' most capped second-rower, is pleased to be ending his career on his own terms.

Going out at the top … Nathan Sharpe, the Wallabies' most capped second-rower, is pleased to be ending his career on his own terms. Photo: Getty Images

Nathan Sharpe doesn't make excuses. But as the undisputed veteran of the Wallabies, who is counting down on one hand the games he has left to play, the 34-year-old can put a few things in perspective.

The most capped second-rower in Australian history has never in his 102-Test career been asked to play two matches in four days.

Last Tuesday's weather in Newcastle was, he says, ''in the top three worst conditions I've played in anywhere in the world, let alone Australia''. And Wales, smarting from Saturday's loss, will be more dangerous than ever in the second Test in Melbourne this weekend.

''This is the best Welsh team I've ever played against,'' he says. ''We're expecting big things from them again this weekend, and they will have learnt a lot from Saturday, and we expect them to try to remedy that.

''The game will have a completely different focus and a completely different energy about it.''

Sharpe should know. Saturday's match was his 11th against Wales. He's collected more caps against one country than 11 of his teammates have in their entire careers.

The difference, according to Sharpe, between the Wallabies that were humiliated by Scotland and the Wallabies that humbled Six Nations champions Wales was better choices.

The weather was terrible, and the team had hardly had time to shake each others' hands early in the week, but a few days later it boiled down to a group that wanted to prove something, and aligned their decision-making accordingly.

''We took better options,'' Sharpe says. ''And obviously it was a good test for the resolve of the team to go through that and perform well after the loss, to back up and play Wales.''

It was especially satisfying to watch his Western Force teammate David Pocock handle his first two games as captain under extremely challenging circumstances, Sharpe says.

''His response was that [the loss] had occurred, and as pissed off as we were we knew we had a job to do four days later and we had to worry about that,'' he says. ''Dave was one of the first guys to pick up that mentality and go forward with it.''

Pocock has been widely praised for his role in the Wallabies' triumph in Brisbane. Sharpe, who was the breakaway's captain at the Force until this season, when Pocock took over, says there is no question his friend will succeed in the role.

''It's just time on your feet for him, he'll get better and better,'' he says. ''Dave's game is as good as ever, and he is certainly getting his head around the extra commitment and the broader thinking you need to be captain, [as well as] all about tempering emotional responses with objective reasoning.''

Sharpe, on the other hand, has nothing more than his team's supremacy over the Welsh to prove in the final two Tests of his career.

He admits to the odd thought about whether he was ready to let go of rugby, but says he is proud to be finishing playing on his own terms. ''I think those thoughts cross your mind all time, but I think, deep down and in the grand scheme, it's the right time for me to do it,'' Sharpe says.

''I've always been keen to be a strong contributor to whatever team I'm part of, and I don't want to be one of those guys that will be asked to leave. I'm more relaxed, more than anything, because it's not like I'm looking to play on or protect my position. I set my own standards and try to fulfil those. It's a bit empowering in a lot of ways.''

Related Coverage

Rugby Internationals 2014

Round 1
Sat, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 18 vs TGA 18 Report Stats
FJI 25 vs ITA 14 Report Stats
NZL 20 vs ENG 15 Report Stats
AUS 50 vs FRA 23 Report Stats
Sun, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 47 vs WXV 13 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 29 Report Stats
USA 6 vs SCO 24 Report Stats
CAN 25 vs JPN 34 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sat, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 15 vs ITA Report Stats
FJI 45 vs TGA 17 Report Stats
NZL 28 vs ENG 27 Report Stats
AUS 6 vs FRA Report Stats
Sun, 15 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 38 vs WAL 16 Report Stats
CAN 17 vs SCO 19 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 23 Report Stats
USA 29 vs JPN 37 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 3
Sat, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
ARG 19 vs SCO 21 Report Stats
FJI 13 vs SAM 18 Report Stats
JPN 26 vs ITA 23 Report Stats
AUS 39 vs FRA 13 Stats
NZL 36 vs ENG 13 Report Stats
Sun, 22 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 31 vs WAL 30 Report Stats
USA 38 vs CAN 35 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 4
Sun, 29 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 55 vs SCO 6 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 5
Sun, 02 NovTimes shown AEDT
BAR 36 vs AUS 40 Report Stats
USA 6 vs NZL 74 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 6
Sun, 09 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 24 vs SAM 13 Report Stats
ENG 21 vs NZL 24 Report Stats
WAL 28 vs AUS 33 Report Stats
FRA 40 vs FJI 14 Report Stats
IRE 29 vs RSA 15 Report Stats
SCO 41 vs ARG 31 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 7
Sun, 16 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 18 vs ARG 20 Report Stats
ENG 28 vs RSA 31 Report Stats
WAL 17 vs FJI 13 Report Stats
SCO 16 vs NZL 24 Report Stats
FRA 29 vs AUS 26 Report Stats
Mon, 17 NovTimes shown AEDT
IRE 49 vs GEO 7 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 8
Sun, 23 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 6 vs RSA 22 Report Stats
SCO 37 vs TGA 12 Report Stats
IRE 26 vs AUS 23 Report Stats
WAL 16 vs NZL 34 Report Stats
ENG 28 vs SAM 9 Report Stats
FRA 13 vs ARG 18 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 9
Sun, 30 NovTimes shown AEDT
ENG vs AUS 01:30Twic
WAL vs RSA 01:30MilS
View All Fixtures
 
Featured advertisers