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Thread: Nathan Sharpe may not take part in the Grand Slam tour due to injury

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    Nathan Sharpe may not take part in the Grand Slam tour due to injury

    Nathan Sharpe may not take part in the Grand Slam tour due to injury
    By Wayne Smith
    October 01, 2009

    Experienced Test lock Nathan Sharpe will either be heading off to Britain for a Grand Slam tour or to the operating theatre following the Wallabies' four-day camp in Sydney next week.

    Sharpe has not played since his man-of-the-match performance against the All Blacks at ANZ Stadium on August 22 was cut short when he tore his biceps muscle.

    If he had undergone surgery immediately he would have had no chance of making the tour, but there are no guarantees that six weeks of rest will cause the injury - which makes him feel as though his shoulder is out of joint - to settle down.

    "I'm just hoping that when I resume contact work next week that it will be OK," said Sharpe, who, with 79 Tests to his credit, needs only another eight to eclipse World Cup-winning captain John Eales as Australia's most capped lock.

    "I honestly don't know how it will be. I'm going to go into the camp and see what the medical staff think. It would be great to get on this tour because there hasn't been a Grand Slam campaign since 1984. There's a lot of negativity surrounding rugby at the moment, and you want the game to be viewed in a positive light and we have the opportunity to bring about that change on this tour."

    Sharpe, one of the five finalists for the John Eales Medal to be awarded on October 22, the virtual eve of the tour, said the biggest disappointment in the Wallabies ranks was that the results of the Tri-Nations campaign (one win from six matches) did not reflect all the work they had put into it.

    "There has been so much good football in amongst the poor results," he said.

    "But it doesn't matter how much hard work goes in on and off the field ... it's got to go into getting results."

    The Wallabies would be loath to tour without Sharpe, whose tally of caps easily exceeds the total of Tests played by all the other second-rowers in the squad combined - Mark Chisholm (43 caps), James Horwill (19) and the uncapped Dave Dennis.

    Although he has his critics within Australia, he is highly regarded both by his teammates - hence his short-listing for the peer-judged Eales Medal, which he first won in 2007 - and his opponents, with Springbok lineout general Victor Matfield recently rating him one of the most difficult second-rowers he has faced.

    It may well be that ruling on whether or not Sharpe tours is not the most difficult decision Wallabies coach Robbie Deans faces over the coming weeks.

    Trickier still is whether to retain Stirling Mortlock as captain. If there are any doubts over Mortlock's ability to command a place in the Wallabies starting XV at the 2011 World Cup, then the sooner his replacement as captain is installed the better. That would not preclude Mortlock from playing in the World Cup.

    Rather, he could be selected in the squad as a regular player, much as George Gregan was in 2007 after relinquishing the Wallabies captaincy to him the previous year.

    George Smith deputised as captain through the back half of the Tri-Nations series after Mortlock sustained a season-ending knee injury in the Newlands Test, but he is, at best, a reluctant skipper.

    Indeed, he may have his own hands full staving off the challenge of David Pocock to his openside flanker position.

    Chances are that if the captaincy was put to a popular vote of the players, hooker Stephen Moore would come out on top.

    But given that he is no longer the starting Test hooker, with Tatafu Polota-Nau having supplanted him for the past two Tri-Nations fixtures, it would only be an unnecessary complication to award him the captaincy.

    Inside centre Berrick Barnes is gathering support with his cool-headed generalship, but it would be a difficult sell to try to convince 73-Test veteran Matt Giteau that the team is better served by entrusting the captaincy to a player with only 21 caps to his credit.

    If a change is to be made, the one player who would seem to meet all the criteria is Rocky Elsom.

    Outwardly, he would be a "follow me" type of leader, but the uncompromising 44-Test backrower would bring far more to the job that physical and mental toughness.

    Increasingly he is winning respect for his acute tactical sense and his ability to analyse a game on the run.


    http://www.foxsports.com.au/story/0,...016959,00.html

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    Might be good for the Force having Sharpie around for pre-season (even if he isn't taking a big part). Saying that he is one of the most senior players with captaincy experience and the last couple of tests have shown he isn't likely to be supplanted any time soon.

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    Champion Contributor sandgroperrugby's Avatar
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    After reading the article it would be interesting to start a book on who this site thinks should be the next captain?

    Matt Giteau
    Berrick Barnes
    Rocky Elsom
    George Smith
    Stephen Moore
    Benn Robinson

    I picked this lot because I reckon they are the most consistent players who will be the core of the team picked for the tour. My vote would be with Rocky, a) he is a forward so he has brains b) hard worker c) outstanding performer d) close contact with the ref in all set piece aspects e) doesn’t seem to speak waffle to the press f) is a forward so he has brains (not a mistake this is really important)

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    What was interesting in the article was the suggestion that 'Matt Giteau will kick up a fuss if a junior player (Barnes) is promoted to captain over him'. Who gives a toss? If he wants to have a cry about it then he isn't leadership material anyway. If he wanted to prove a decision like that wrong he would tough it out and support the captain like a real leader would.

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    thinking...

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    Gits has good leadership qualities... and starts every match.. Barnes is made of paper... AAC for Captain I say...

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    The committee for Captain.

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    Gits would not be a good captain.
    If only from Groper's list for the long term then I would go for Moore however, I firmly believe that the strongest candidate on every front, including 2011, is Bam-Bam. A very impressive young man, on and off the field, who will be a Wallaby for many years to come in a key position.

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    It kind of comes down to who at the moment is a definite for test XV selection. That is: Benn Robinson, Stephen Moore (in my opinion- TPN is a great sub but is probably a better impact player and still isn't a top thrower), Nathan Sharpe, Rocky Elsom, George Smith, Matt Giteau, Berrick Barnes, Adam Ashley-Cooper and Stirling Mortlock. Mortlock is no guarantee for 2011 and Smith seems very reluctant to be captain so that kind of rules them out. Robinson and Barnes are probably a little bit too inexperienced. You could say AAC was too but its more that he doesn't seem to be that interested in the leadership side of things. Which leaves Moore, Sharpe, Elsom or Giteau. Hookers have a specific bench substitute so you kind of want someone who'll be there for the clutch last ten minutes of the game. And question marks about Giteau aside he's a back and you really need someone closer to the scrums and the line-outs and the breakdowns. An inspiring captain inspires the players around them and the players around a forward are other forwards (except when Sharpie is crabbing it in the centres) and we all know its the forwards who win the game. Make Elsom or Sharpie captain.

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    From those two then Sharpey by a few miles James.
    My argument for Bam is taking a determined view to the future (especially 2011) and locking him in at #7, as would appear to be only a matter of time anyway, as evidenced by Robbie playing Smith out of position.

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    Gits was a cub scout....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Burgs View Post
    From those two then Sharpey by a few miles James.
    My argument for Bam is taking a determined view to the future (especially 2011) and locking him in at #7, as would appear to be only a matter of time anyway, as evidenced by Robbie playing Smith out of position.
    I agree he is good captaincy material and he is definitely being groomed for the position but with so few test caps it does seem a little premature. I'd definitely say after 2011 he is a red hot chance though.

    Growdy was banging on about a captain of one of the Super 14 teams being quite angry about the captaincy being promised to someone else and threatening to walk away earlier this year. Makes me wonder if a) its true and b) who it was. It could be anyone really. You'd guess if they were threatening to walk it would be someone off contract (ie Waugh or Horwill- I don't know if Hoiles was off contract or not) but maybe Mitch had promised Pocock the captaincy with the Force. It'd definitely be a good start for him if he wanted the Wallabies gig.

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    It was Smith at the Brums...

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    Surely if Brown Dog or any other 8 gets back to their best at then Smith will move back to 7 and shunt Bam back to the bench. Pocock still has a ways to go to unsurp Smith in the 7 jumper IMHO.

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    James and Grope, totally valid points, my comment is made with an eye firmly on rebuilding and making a couple of gutsy calls.
    It also comes at a bit of a price to my normal position that Caps are not for trialling with, always pick your best XV however, that doesn't seem to be the way of it these days so if you can't beat them...

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