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Thread: Victor Matfield joins chorus of acclaim for Nathan Sharpe

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    Victor Matfield joins chorus of acclaim for Nathan Sharpe

    Iain Payten The Daily Telegraph October 21, 2011 12:00am


    100th Test looming: Australia's Nathan Sharpe takes part in a training session at Eden Park in Auckland.
    Source: AFP
    IT is a moment Nathan Sharpe declines to talk about, which goes a long way to proving why it happened. It was last year and the occasion was the post-game function following Victor Matfield's 100th Test.

    The Boks had beaten Australia in Pretoria and in a speech about his career, Matfield mentioned just one opponent he respected and loved to play against: Sharpe. Onlookers say the tall Aussie lock was so humbled that he has kept quiet on the subject since.

    Tonight Sharpe joins the same club as Matfield when he plays his 100th Test, against Wales in Auckland.

    And such is the respect Matfield has for Sharpe, the Springbok legend was only too happy to expand on his tribute.

    "At Test level I was always excited when I played against the best players out there," Matfield told The Daily Telegraph via email. "That's why we play this game. So it was always a really big game when I faced any team where the opposition's No.5 was Mr Nathan Sharpe.

    "My teammates always found it pretty funny when we took him on. I'm someone who believes in keeping the lineouts very simple, but whenever I was playing against Sharpie, I would come up with some funny ploy or new trick just to get the ball in some different way.

    "They always would say, 'We can see who Mattie is playing against again this week.' That just shows in how high regard I held Nathan when playing against him.

    "Even more important is that although he always competed with 100 per cent intensity on the pitch, he was a real gentleman off the field and always the first to come over and have a chat after a game. It was always a great honour playing against a great player, but also against a real gentleman."

    To Sharpe, Matfield had always been a hard-edged competitor with whom he shared the occasional "g'day" and "good game".

    It changed on the night of Sharpe's 50th Test, however, when he saw Matfield walking into the Wallabies' dressing room after the match to swap his South African jersey.

    Matfield eased Sharpe's panic when he said: "Here, have mine, you keep that one."

    "I did the same for his 100th," Sharpe said.

    "We haven't spent a great deal of time together off the rugby field but we have played against each an awful lot and I have enormous respect for Victor. When you talk about lineout work, there are none better."None better perhaps, but Wallabies coach Robbie Deans this week said one was equal to Matfield in the air.

    "He's a master of the lineout and he does a lot of work, not only in the game, but in preparation," Deans said.

    "He and Victor Matfield have probably been the two best lineout exponents of the last decade. It is a rivalry that is long-standing.

    "He has a huge amount of respect from his peers."

    Wallaby great John Eales presented the Test jerseys to the team yesterday and spoke glowingly of Sharpe, the popular 33-year-old from Wagga who he played with at Queensland from 1999-2001.

    And flanker David Pocock said Sharpe had been a huge influence on his career as his first and only captain since turning professional at the Force.

    "He is a guy everyone really looks up to, not just literally but as a man of principle, and someone who is a real leader on and off the field," Pocock said.

    http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/spo...-1226172314741

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    Quote Originally Posted by travelling_gerry View Post
    "He's a master of the lineout and he does a lot of work, not only in the game, but in preparation," Deans said.
    now I'm really confused, if Deans holds him in such high regard, why not even a bench in possibly the biggest game the wallabies will play this decade?

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    C'mon the

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    I am confused...WT??? Going to the game today..we have a four coach trip from Bay of Isles to Eden Park, and 4 hours back..wouldn't miss it for the world...I will be screaming for all of you....
    ......posted from somewhere off the coast of NZ...

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    Veteran Contributor hertryk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GIGS20 View Post
    now I'm really confused, if Deans holds him in such high regard, why not even a bench in possibly the biggest game the wallabies will play this decade?
    I am confused...WT??? Going to the game today..we have a four hour coach trip from Bay of Isles to Eden Park, and 4 hours back..wouldn't miss it for the world...I will be screaming for all of you....
    ......posted from somewhere off the coast of NZ...

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    Quote Originally Posted by GIGS20 View Post
    now I'm really confused, if Deans holds him in such high regard, why not even a bench in possibly the biggest game the wallabies will play this decade?
    Watching Fox Sports news last week I remember Robbie Deans saying that the selection of the side for the semi was a "horses for courses" selection

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    someone should have told Robbie it was a test match,not a horse race!

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