Captain Sharpe set for Wallabies record
Skipper Nathan Sharpe rumbles into the Wallabies record books on Sunday morning hoping he’ll be remembered like the man he surpasses – Mr Reliable, George Smith.
Sharpe has given little thought to breaking Smith’s record of 110 Tests as a forward for Australia; focussing purely on leading an injury-hit side to success over Argentina the only thing on his mind.
But an emailed congratulations from former flanker Smith, who started his Test career just 18 months earlier than Sharpe, prompted some reflection ahead of his penultimate game on Sunday (AEDT).
“Georgey is a good mate of mine and he said he was happy to see me surpass him,” the 34-year-old told AAP in Rosario.
“That speaks volumes for Georgey because he was one of the best blokes I’ve played with.
“One of the things that made all the great players is consistency. It didn’t matter what was happening – winning team, losing team – George always played well.
“He was the sort of guy people loved playing with.
“When I play rugby I want to be a bloke everyone says ‘I want him in my team’ for that consistency.”
Sharpe will declare his 13-season long Test innings closed on 112 – behind only George Gregan (139) on the all-time list – when he retires after the third Bledisloe Test in Brisbane.
It’s four months after he originally intended to play his last Wallabies match but he stresses he’s enjoyed every extra minute which has seen him come to Australia’s aid as captain, team veteran and in-form lock in a time of adversity.
Young prop James Slipper is one who staunchly believes Sharpe will be viewed in the manner he hopes.
“To see what he’s done and for his career and his country is a tribute to himself,” said Slipper. “He’s always put his body on the line for his country and more players should aspire to be like him.”© AAP 2013
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