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Force prepared to wait on Sharpe

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James Mortimer     11 Jul 2012     Getty Images

The Force are all that stand between the Crusaders and a record 14th Super Rugby Finals Series appearance, and with the seven-time champions in imperious form after beating the Chiefs in Hamilton, the Australian side will need all personal on deck to cause what would be considered in most quarters to be an upset.

Sharpe, who had his back lock up prior to playing the Blues at Eden Park last week, was rated a 50/50 chance of turning out for what would be his final match for the Force.

The veteran lock and inaugural club captain for the Force will play in his 162nd match against the Crusaders if cleared to play, ending an illustrious career that began in Reds colours, when the Queenslanders played the Hurricanes in 1998.

Sharpe said he hoped to be there for his team.

"We'll just have to see how it settles down," he said.

"I definitely want to be involved in my last game. Obviously, the Force has been a fantastic part of my career, and I'd like to play the last bit of the season."

The Wagga-Wagga born lock will look to come up against the All Blacks locking combination of Sam Whitelock and Luke Romano, but even if Sharpe is ruled out, it won’t be the last time he faces tall timber from New Zealand.

Sharpe, who has played 105-tests for the Wallabies, will ‘delay’ his retirement to play for Australia during The Investec Rugby Championship, after coach Robbie Deans reportedly begged him to keep playing test rugby.

Injuries to James Horwill and Dan Vickerman has the Wallabies facing a second row crisis heading into the southern hemisphere’s premier international competition.

"I was set to retire after this game, but Robbie asked me to stay around for the Rugby Championship and the Bledisloe, so I'll finish up after the last Bledisloe in Brisbane,” he said.

“It's exciting, it obviously changes the plans, but that's not a big issue, it's only another three months or so."