View Comments
Nathan Sharpe: I m proud to extend my career
Nathan Sharpe: I'm proud to extend my career

This has been a week of mixed emotions after I agreed to stay with the Wallabies for the Rugby Championship and help contest the Bledisloe Cup.

To have the opportunity to represent my country in my last game makes me proud. The only feeling of unease I have is my last game may not be with the Western Force.

Often, when your timeline horizon shifts, it can change your state of mind. It has done so to me, but in a positive way.

The hardest part of the decision was telling my young boys they may have to wait another two months till dad stops travelling and the countdown of remaining games has gone from four to possibly 11. Hopefully, when they get older, they might understand the decisions and go easy on their old man. Until then, it will be business as usual. To be chosen to represent the people of your country is a huge responsibility and honour. I never take it lightly and I have never taken it for granted.

Former Wallabies captain Stirling Mortlock, who has announced his retirement at the end of the Super season, was one of the strongest outside centres to play the game.

I will remember the dominant Mortlock. The Mortlock few could stop. For 70-odd Test matches he was unstoppable out wide with size and strength.

People who have only watched him in recent years have missed seeing him in the prime of his career. It was nothing for him to carry four defenders for 10m before offloading.

His intercept in the 2003 Rugby World Cup semifinal against the All Blacks will never be forgotten.

I remember looking up after having my head buried in a ruck to see Stirlo striding 80m to score the critical try that pushed us into the final.

I love winning games after the final siren.

In the world of competition there is never a more finely timed action when the emotion of winning and losing comes down to a singular act.

It's like flipping a coin for the result. The key is having someone tossing the coin who knows how to ensure heads comes up every time.

To be on the losing side is often worse than losing by 50. You get so close, but in reality you are so far away.

It's like golf. We only remember the scoresheet and the best shot of the day. The one that counts. The one where the ball sails straight over the crossbar.

Mike Harris hit that seed so sweetly last weekend against the Welsh that it never looked like missing.

People ask me: "What do you think of when your kicker lines up a kick like that?"

As a forward I never pay much attention to kickers, but two years ago when Australia beat South Africa at altitude for the first time in 47 years, I remember looking across to see Kurtley Beale lining up for the shot.

I thought someone was having a lend of me. Until that point I had no idea he even knew how to put a ball on a kicking tee let alone slot the goal. Sure enough he put it over and clinched the game.

I knew Mike could kick.

The statistics were racing through my head and I recalled him kicking roughly 20 straight for the Reds.

Four fist-pumping minutes later and we had clinched the series. A great feeling against the best team in the northern hemisphere.