Sharpe bows out for good this time
A shiner developing under his right eye as a final memento from 116 test appearances,Australia captain Nathan Sharpe said farewell to rugby for good on Saturday as he signed off with a 14-12 victory over Wales.
Still in kit and his eyes, the bruising apart, glazing over with emotion, the most-capped Wallaby forward reflected on his long career.
"Of course I'll miss it, it's what I've done since I can remember - I'm going to have to find some walls to run into every weekend just to get my head around things and ease my way out I think," said the second-rower, who made his test debut in 2002.
Sharpe, 34, was twice talked out of retirement this year to answer Australia's call of need and led them in the Rugby Championship after injuries ruled out James Horwill, David Pocock and Will Genia.
"Probably the thing for me that I'll miss the most is being in that team environment and having a collective goal - that pressure cooker situation every weekend - as much as you love it, you hate it," Sharpe said.
"The big highs and the low lows."
The Wagga Wagga-born lock played in three World Cups and was on the losing side in the 2003 final against England. He is the second most capped Wallaby behind scrumhalf George Gregan who won 139 caps between 1994 and 2007.
Sharpe, who scored eight tries for the Wallabies, was afforded one last chance to add to his points tally when he lined up to convert Kurtley's Beale's last-gasp match-winning try.
Not a naturally born kicker, the ball did not stay airborne for long.
"The first and last time," he joked to reporters.