x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Australia veteran Sharpe delays retirement to turn out in Rugby Championship

Lock will postpone exit from rugby in order to take part in replacement for Tri-Nations series.

Nathan Sharpe runs with the ball against Wales at Etihad Stadium in Melbourne
Nathan Sharpe runs with the ball against Wales at Etihad Stadium in Melbourne

Veteran Wallaby lock Nathan Sharpe has postponed his retirement and will play in the inaugural Rugby Championship against New Zealand, South Africa and Argentina.

Australia coach Robbie Deans said Sharpe, 34, was willing to delay his exit from the game with skipper James Horwill expected to be out for the season because of a ruptured hamstring and veteran Dan Vickerman also unavailable.

"Sharpie's indicated he's willing and keen to continue into the Rugby Championship, so that's good news for the team," Deans told reporters Tuesday.

"Obviously it's a big decision for Sharpie because it was a conscious choice of his to communicate that he was going to retire, intending to retire.

"He'd made plans around his life beyond the game so he's had to put them on hold and that's never straightforward."

Sharpe, who has played 104 Tests, announced in February he would quit all competitive rugby at the end of July and move into the resources industry, while also working as a media commentator.

The Rugby Championship, which replaces the Tri-Nations tournament involving New Zealand, Australia and South Africa, kicks off on August 18.