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Thread: Wallabies lock Nathan Sharpe relishing every cap since his shock exclusion

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    Feb 2006
    Perth, Western Australia, Australia

    Wallabies lock Nathan Sharpe relishing every cap since his shock exclusion

    July 27, 2009 It's a very different Nathan Sharpe who heads to South Africa this week almost 12 months after his Test career abruptly hit the skids.

    The Western Force skipper was a surprise exclusion from the 26-man Australian squad for the two-Test trek to the Republic last year after being usurped by youngster James Horwill.

    He was later reinstated after long-time second-row partner Dan Vickerman was injured in the Wallabies' breakthrough 27-15 win in Durban.

    But when he was overlooked for the next Test in favour of Horwill, fellow Queenslander Hugh McMeniman and Dean Mumm on the bench, the writing seemed on the wall.

    While the Wallabies were towelled up 53-8, Sharpe endured his own shock to the system, using the experience to power him back into action by getting fitter and stronger to be a more effective tight-forward.

    "From that time on I've tried to take a different perspective and play each game as though it's my last and try and bring more energy and enthusiasm to it," he said.

    "For a couple of days there I spoke to a few key people in my life and the message was the same, I had to work hard and wait for the opportunity."

    Sharpe is still attempting to make the most of that opportunity, which came with Vickerman's injury and then foot surgery to Horwill.

    He was picked in the spring tour as Australia's senior forward and stood up in a pack missing his fellow locks and Rocky Elsom, suggesting he can make a third World Cup at 33.

    "I did enjoy the tour and because of the way it was," he said.

    "I knew what it felt like not to be in the team and I didn't want to go through it again and that was a motivating factor.

    "The 2011 World Cup was my goal right from the outset of re-signing in Australia (last year). It wasn't to sign and sort of fade away. I wanted to be involved in the next World Cup."

    Foley, now the New South Wales Waratahs forwards coach, rated Sharpe's performance in Australia's 28-14 win over England in November the best of his career.

    He then backed up with storming games against France and Wales.

    "The question marks had been over Nathan Sharpe but over those three performances he really stood up and made it clear to people in Australia that he was not just a skilful player but a player that was capable of prevailing in adversity," former Wallabies forwards coach Foley said.

    "Leaving Nathan Sharpe out of that Johannesburg Test last year was a mistake and history tells us that and it's easy in retrospect to say those things but Nathan in that European tour led the lineout and played some pretty tough rugby at the end of the season."

    The Wallabies reassemble in camp in Sydney on Tuesday before picking a 24-man squad to fly to South Africa on Friday.

    They play the Springboks on August 8.,...-23209,00.html

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  2. #2
    Veteran mudskipper's Avatar
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    Oct 2008
    Need some big hits on the field from Sharpe... Wallabies need a hardman, more likely a few... Get in it Sharpie...

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