Nathan Sharpe, Australia’s most-experienced second-row forward, delayed his retirement until after the southern hemisphere’s inaugural Rugby Championship, Wallabies coach Robbie Deans said.
Sharpe, 34, who’s played 104 Tests for Australia, said in February that he would end his 15-year career when the 2012 Super Rugby season finishes. He’s now agreed to play on against New Zealand, South Africa and Argentina, Deans said today.
“Sharpie’s indicated he’s willing and keen to continue into the Rugby Championship,” Deans said at a news conference. “Obviously it’s a big decision for Sharpie because it was a conscious choice of his to communicate that he was going to retire. He’d made plans around his life beyond the game so he’s had to put them on hold and that’s never straightforward.”
The Wallabies start the Rugby Championship against New Zealand on Aug. 18 and finish with a trip to Argentina on Oct. 6. Sharpe’s availability for the six matches follows a season-ending hamstring injury to Wallabies captain James Horwill. Fellow lock Dan Vickerman, who’s played 63 Tests for Australia, is also unavailable because of injury.