Sharpe to lead Australia

  • Last Updated: October 11 2012, 10:30 BST

Veteran lock Nathan Sharpe has answered an SOS call from coach Robbie Deans and agreed to lead Australia on their tour of Europe next month.

Nathan Sharpe: To captain Wallabies on European tour

Next Saturday's Bledisloe Test with New Zealand was supposed to be the 34-year-old's final match, but he has agreed to delay retirement again.

Sharpe had planned to hang up his boots at the end of the Super Rugby season but when the Wallabies lost locks James Horwill (knee) and Dan Vickerman (retirement) to injury, he agreed to play on.

Sharpe was then named captain after David Pocock and Will Genia were also struck down by the injury curse.

"Playing for Australia is something I have never taken for granted," Sharpe said.

"As such, to be asked to continue beyond the deadline I had set for myself was both flattering but also a request that was very difficult to turn down.

"I have never known a season where the Wallabies have faced such adversity as we have this year.

"To show the spirit and character that the team has is a mark of how the group has grown, both individually and collectively, and I have enjoyed playing my part in that.

"The opportunity to lead the Wallabies again on what will be a challenging but exciting tour was too tempting. It is not easy to say no to your country."

Deans added: "You only have to look at what he has achieved with the group since he took over as captain.

"His influence has been immense, he is arguably playing the best rugby of his career but, most importantly, he is enjoying the experience."

Click here for a completely free £10 bet with Sky Bet