Sharpe: I'll take on All Blacks, Boks and Pumas

Getty Images

James Mortimer     21 Jun 2012     Getty Images

Sharpe, a 104-test veteran, was to hang up his boots when the Force finish their season, with plans to move into the media and resources industries.

However with Horwill out, Sharpe discussed with Wallabies coach Robbie Deans about staying on for the 2012 Investec Rugby Championship.

‘‘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. That’s a big decision in any man’s life particularly a bloke who has played 100 Tests,’’ said Deans.

‘‘He’d made plans around his life beyond the game so he’s had to put them on hold and that’s never straight forward.’’

Sitaleki Timani will start alongside the veteran lock in the Wallabies third test against Wales, with Deans wanting to give the NSW giant a chance to cement a place.

Reds lock Rob Simmons has been dropped to the bench for some rest, with the chance that he will be the Wallabies senior lock come the 2012 end-of-year tour.

‘‘Well, clearly the day is coming when Sharpie’s not going to be available to us so we’ve got to prepare for that and we want to get Sita some exposure, bring him on,’’ said Deans.

‘‘Simmo’s had a big year, he’s played a lot of rugby, they’re going to have to share that load and, the sooner we can bring guys like Sita on, the better it will be for us.’’

Sharpe debuted for the Wallabies in 2002, and was set to call time on a decade plus career, but his form for the Force and his decision will boost the Australians ahead of what is in some respects a 'title defence' after winning the final Tri-Nations last season.

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

‘‘He’s vastly experienced, been in this arena for a long time and you saw evidence of that in the death in the game the other night."