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Wallabies Lock Sharpe Will Quit After Super Rugby Season

Nathan Sharpe, Australia’s most-experienced second-row forward, will quit at the end of this year’s Super Rugby season after a 15-year career in the sport.

Sharpe, who’s played 101 Tests for the Wallabies and 147 games in the southern hemisphere’s elite provincial rugby competition, said announcing his retirement now would end speculation about his future. He said he plans to move into a career in the resources sector.

“It is an emotional time for me,” Sharpe, 33, said in an e-mailed statement from his Perth-based Western Force team. “It’s one of those decisions you mull over and think are you going too early or too late and I wasn’t really sure of that until recently.”

Sharpe’s 101 Tests for Australia place him joint-fourth on the all-time list with David Campese. George Gregan, George Smith and Stephen Larkham are the only players to have represented their country in more elite matches.

The 6-foot-6, 253-pound Sharpe will still be available for national selection during June, when Super Rugby breaks off for domestic Tests, the Australian Rugby Union said.

“Nathan has been one of this country’s great players for more than a decade, he has never shied away from a contest and has given his all no matter if he was wearing a Queensland, Western Force or Wallabies jersey,” ARU Chief Executive Officer John O’Neill said in a statement.

The Force start their 2012 season Feb. 24 against fellow Australian team ACT Brumbies in Canberra.

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