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Thread: Sharpe ready to show worth

  1. #1
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    Sharpe ready to show worth

    Sharpe ready to show worth

    By Jim Morton
    September 08, 2008 AUSTRALIA veteran Nathan Sharpe took more than a day to pick himself up following his shock career-first axing.
    Now the 70-Test lock aims to show in the Tri-Nations decider against New Zealand that he's used the pain of the dumping constructively.

    Sharpe admitted he was cut deeply by being left out of the original 24-man tour squad sent to South Africa following the thumping 39-10 loss to the All Blacks on August 3.

    While he was dropped to the bench in 2003, it was the first time the 30-year-old has been cut from the Australian 22 since debuting.

    “It hurt, it hurt a lot,” Sharpe said.

    “I guess that has made me more determined to get back into the team and be it this weekend, be it the Spring Tour or be it next year, I'll set myself that goal. There's no point lying around and feeling sorry for yourself.

    “It took me a day or so to get back on deck but once I was I made resolutions to myself to get back to where I wanted to be and time is the only thing that is going to tell when that is firstly, or if that is.

    “I'll be working hard and when I get that opportunity I'll certainly make the most of it.”

    Indications are Sharpe will be one of a handful of changes, directly replacing Hugh McMeniman in Australia's second-row against the All Blacks at Suncorp Stadium.

    McMeniman wasn't disgraced in the last start record 53-8 loss to South Africa in Johannesburg but Sharpe's experience and lineout leadership are seen as key reinforcements to the pack.

    Sharpe was originally cut by coach Robbie Deans when Dan Vickerman returned from injury to partner rising 22-year-old James Horwill.

    Vickerman's loss to injury in the 27-15 victory over the Boks in Durban saw the Western Force skipper recalled into the tour squad but he still had to endure the eight-try Jo'burg massacre as a frustrated spectator.

    “It was a very emotional night for me, to be watching the guys and knowing what they were going through,” he said.

    “But the one thing I know about this team, I know there's a lot of resolution.”

    Sharpe predicted a “torrid” winner-takes-all clash with the Wallabies revved up to make the Springbok loss ancient history.

    “It may have been a big score over there but I don't think it counts for anything this weekend against the All Blacks and the 15 or 22 guys who will take the field will be stinging from that game and they will certainly let that be known,” he said.

    “If you win the Tri-Nations everyone forgets about that sort of stuff.”

    AAP


    http://www.foxsports.com.au/story/0,...-23217,00.html

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    'Stung' Sharpe wants spot back

    Phil Lutton, Brisbane Times - For local Brisbane News, World News & Breaking News in Queensland, Australia | September 8, 2008 - 2:31PM

    Wallaby lock Nathan Sharpe says a "stinging" Wallabies are itching to rebound from their South African nightmare in Saturday's sold-out Tri Nations decider against the All Blacks in Brisbane.

    Sharpe looks certain to be recalled to the Wallaby side after taking no part in the South African tour. It was the first time the 64-Test veteran had been dropped since his national debut in 2002.

    It may have been a blessing in disguise, with Sharpe missing the embarrassing 53-8 drubbing at the hands of the rampant Springboks in Johannesburg .

    The 30-year-old is tipped to be back in the starting line-up for Saturday's appointment at Suncorp Stadium, in place of fellow Queenslander Hugh McMeniman. The team will be announced tomorrow.

    Sharpe said the debacle at Ellis Park would stir the Wallabies into life and with the Tri Nations and Bledisloe Cup at stake, there was no shortage of motivation.

    "The one thing about this team, there's a lot of resolution. It might have been a big score over there but I don't think it will count for anything this weekend," Sharpe said.

    "The 15 or 22 guys that take the field against them this weekend will be stinging from that game and they will certainly let that be known.

    "If you win the Tri Nations, everyone forgets about that stuff, don't they?"

    Sharpe said he had a personal point to prove after his demotion, while the magnitude of the encounter gave him the perfect chance to prove he still had things to offer under the Robbie Deans regime.

    "This is the game everyone wants to play in after a hard-fought Tri Nations, to come down to the last game with everything on the line. You want to be involved in that," Sharpe said.

    "It hurt. It hurt a lot. It's just made me more determined to get back in the team. There's no point in lying around feeling sorry for yourself."

    Sharpe also described reports coming out of New Zealand that he and fellow Western Force star Matt Giteau had fallen out with coach John Mitchell as "rubbish".

    "I just signed a three-year deal over there. I wouldn't sign for three years if I was unhappy in a certain area. Complete rubbish. I don't know where they got those things from," Sharpe said.

    "I know for a fact that Gits' problem, or what he wants to get sorted out, is the contractual thing off the field. Certainly he's got no problems with Mitch. He gets on really well with him. Those reports are a bit scandalous. We love a good scandal in the west."

    The Wallabies trained at Ballymore this morning, with centre Berrick Barnes looking sharp despite being in strong doubt with a shoulder injury. Barnes ran through some drills with no apparent discomfort but did no contact work.

    The hard-hitting Ipswich Grammar product has quickly become an influential part of the Wallaby defensive unit. His absence was duly noted against the Springboks, who galloped in eight tries to Australia's one.

    'Stung' Sharpe wants spot back - rugbyheaven.com.au

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    Robbie Deans might be forced to pick Nathan Sharpe
    Wayne Smith | September 09, 2008


    IT took Robbie Deans only one Test defeat to jettison Nathan Sharpe. The question to be answered today is whether a second Test defeat will persuade the Wallabies coach to concede he may have acted too hastily.

    Any number of players paid the price of the Wallabies' first loss under Deans, the 39-10 thumping at the hands of the All Blacks in Auckland on the night of August 2.

    Tighthead Al Baxter and flanker Phil Waugh were both relegated to the bench for the subsequent Test, the historic Durban triumph over the Springboks, while fullback Adam Ashley-Cooper and reserve forward Hugh McMeniman found themselves out of the Test 22 altogether.

    But only former captain Sharpe was cast aside, left behind for the South African leg of the Tri-Nations campaign.

    Even when injury to Dan Vickerman made a reprieve possible, Deans only reluctantly embraced the idea, calling Sharpe over to Johannesburg but then left the 69-Test veteran to sit in the Ellis Park grandstands, entrusting the starting second-row berths to James Horwill and McMeniman, with Dean Mumm providing cover from the bench.

    It was in retrospect a mistake - and doubly so with Tatafu Polota-Nau's selection ahead of Stephen Moore at hooker. A hit-and-miss thrower at the best of times, Polota-Nau imploded at Ellis Park while Sharpe, the one lineout jumper in the squad with the experience to have steered him through the crisis, looked on helplessly.

    In the wake of the record 53-8 defeat in Johannesburg, changes aplenty are expected when the Wallabies side for the Tri-Nations decider is announced this morning at Ballymore.

    Logic would dictate that the recall of Sharpe, 30, to the starting XV will be one of them. But Deans clearly has major reservations about Sharpe's game that his predecessors as Australia coach, John Connolly and Eddie Jones, did not share, given that the second-rower had never been ditched from the Test 22 in the six seasons before Deans came along.

    What makes it especially tricky for Sharpe is that he does not know for certain what those reservations are. Deans has not spelled them out to him.

    "It all happened pretty quickly," Sharpe said yesterday of his traumatic axing from the Test squad last month. "So I haven't really had an opportunity to talk about it too much. I guess at the end of the day if you're playing well enough, the coach can't leave you out of the team.

    "It hurt. It hurt a lot. I guess that has made me more determined to get back into the team, be it this weekend, be it the spring tour or be it next year. I've set myself that goal. There's no point lying around feeling sorry for yourself."

    Indications are that McMeniman will make way for him in the second row.

    Granted, a Sharpe-Horwill second-row pairing would resurrect the combination that misfired in Auckland where the All Blacks twice embarrassed the Wallabies by sending runners spearing through a gap in the middle of the lineout.

    While Deans might be forced to backtrack and recall a player he appears to have doubts about, he might have to pass over another who has set the benchmark for the Wallabies this season in terms of courage and commitment in Berrick Barnes.

    So understated a player is Barnes that his true worth only becomes evident when he isn't there. It wasn't just that the Wallabies' defence, for years the best in world rugby, opened wide at Ellis Park to let in eight tries but with no Barnes there to lighten the load for him, even the limitations of Matt Giteau's kicking game were laid bare. The dread now, if Barnes is not fit to play, is that Giteau might be forced off on Saturday with an early injury. Who would replace him at five-eighth is anyone's guess.

    Robbie Deans might be forced to pick Nathan Sharpe | The Australian

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    Why is Sharpie on 3 different Test numbers?

    Fox: "70-Test lock"
    RH: "64-Test veteran"
    The Aus: "69-Test veteran"

    Perhaps The Aus is technically correct, Fox is crediting him with his next (but not yet played) game and RH are discrediting him altogether?

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    good luck to you sharpie. he wasnt playing his best rugby before he was dropped and im sure that was the wakeup call he needed. he'll go out there on saturday and have a blinder!

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    time to make amends sharpie..........hope he has a blinder!

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    A blinder with a try would be sweet.

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    welcome back sharpie hope you have a blinder a big boost for our lineout as well good to see brownie on the bench also

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    Good on you Sharpie. With five blue boys in the 22 we cannot go wrong. I am so convinced that I am going over to Suncorp to witness a memorable moment.

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