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Wallabies captain to retire
By Eric Njiru | Thu 27 Jul, 2017 09:15

Wallabies captain Stephen Moore has announced he will retire from international rugby at the end of the year before hanging up the boots full-time at the conclusion of next year's Super Rugby season. 

Moore made the announcement at the Wallabies training camp in Newcastle on Thursday morning, deciding to put an end date on his test career and 12 years as Australia's premier hooker since debut in 2005 against Samoa. 

The 34-year-old will continue playing for the Queensland Reds until the end of 2018.

Moore, who has played 120 tests for the Wallabies, is one of Australian rugby's most respected figures and guided the team to a World Cup final in 2015.

He was on a three-year deal that would have taken him through to the 2019 World Cup but Thursday's announcement will put to bed any chance of that happening. 

"I'm very fortunate to have had the opportunity to represent my state and country on so many occasions," Moore said.

"I've had a long career and my time in the game is something I'll look back on very fondly. That being said, there's still a lot of rugby ahead of me over the next 12 months and I hope to be able to contribute to the success of the Wallabies and the Reds with the time I have left.

"I've been very lucky to have played as long as I have, and I'm incredibly grateful to the Wallabies and Australian rugby for all its done for me. I also really want to thank all my teammates, coaches and staff I've had over my career.

"There's still plenty of footy to go this year but I know the Wallabies will be left in very strong hands if we continue to work hard and stay grounded.

"As of the next test I will be handing over the captaincy, and will spend the next four months supporting the new leadership team in any way possible." 

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika said: "Stephen still has a big role to play within the team. This isn't a farewell right now - he's fully committed to getting the gold jersey back to the top this year.  

"His contribution to this current team cannot be understated. What he's achieved on the field is no mean feat but it's his work off the field in his role as captain of Australia that has really impressed me.

"We now have to make sure we send him off in the best way possible this year." 

Reds head coach Nick Stiles said: "Stephen has been excellent for the Reds, both on and off the field. His leadership qualities are outstanding and the work he has done to help mentor the next generation of players has been exceptional."

Moore was overlooked as Australia's starting hooker for Tatafu Polota-Nau in the first two tests of the year and subsequently was replaced as Wallabies captain by Michael Hooper. 

When Moore was picked to start the third test, he resumed the captaincy back. 

A veteran of three World Cups, Moore made it clear during the June series he wanted to push on until rugby's showpiece event in two years time. 

"My plan is to get to the World Cup in 2019," said Moore after the Fiji test in Melbourne.

"That's still quite a while to go. I want to make sure I can contribute at that time. Managing the amount of games you play in Super Rugby and test rugby is important and there's some good young hookers coming through that are going to start playing more games so that's the way it's going." 

Stuff Rugby

Eric Njiru
eric@ragahouse.com 0726205521
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