Sharpe sheds light at school
VETERAN Wallaby forward Nathan Sharpe has handed this year's All Blacks line-up a huge compliment, while throwing some light on Australia's latest failed Bledisloe Cup campaign.
He was speaking during a stopover in Toowoomba yesterday as part of the 2012 Qantas Wallabies Towns initiative.
Sharpe attended a question-and-answer session with students of Mater Dei Primary School, where he later signed hundreds of autographs before moving on to a lunch meeting at Wagners with Toowoomba rugby fans.
Sharpe later attended Toowoomba Grammar School, before winding up his visit at USQ Saints Rugby Club.
The 34-year-old lock will end his playing career at the end of the representative season.
Last Saturday night he was a member of the Wallabies team beaten 22-0 by New Zealand, which retained the Bledisloe Cup it has held since 2003.
Sharpe, who has played 107 Tests, described last Saturday night's Kiwi performance as the best he had seen from them during his 10-year international career.
"That performance was probably the strongest I've seen from an All Blacks team in my playing days," he said.
"The biggest thing the Kiwis have over us at the moment is at the advantage line.
"Once they get momentum up they are hard to stop.
"We struggle to match them and we've got to get smarter in the way we go about it."
Sharpe said the Australian public's high expectations of its sporting teams added to the Wallabies' frustration at their current lack of success against their traditional rivals.
"There are certainly areas we need to improve in and our lack of playing depth is something we are being tested in at the moment," he said
Sharpe has no plans to remain in rugby as a coach.
"Coaching is a pretty ruthless existence," he said. "There are other things I'd like to do now, away from rugby."