Wallabies skipper Stephen Moore will retire from international rugby at the end of the year, and he is handing over the captaincy to Michael Hooper effective immediately.
Moore told his teammates late on Wednesday of his decision to step aside despite only last month declaring his intention to play on until the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
The 34-year-old hooker will play one more season of Super Rugby with Queensland Reds next year before hanging up his boots for good.
Super Rugby debut in 2003 vs Bulls
Wallabies debut in 2005 vs Samoa
Became Wallabies captain in 2014 vs France
Played at World Cups in 2007, 2011, 2015
Tests: 120 (96 starts)
10th-most capped international player in history
Super Rugby appearances: 177
Super Rugby tries: 23
“I’ve had a long career and my time in the game is something I’ll look back on very fondly,” Moore said. “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.”
The writing was on for the wall for 120-Test veteran during the June window when he was dropped to the bench for the clashes against Fiji and Scotland.
Michael Cheika said at the time Moore that was still the Wallabies captain, with Hooper only taking on the responsibility on match day, insisting the hooker had a role to play at the World Cup. However, Moore appears to have changed his mind at some point since.
The impact of a gruelling pre-Rugby Championship training camp in Newcastle, formulated because of complaints that Australian Super Rugby players weren’t being prepared well enough for Test rugby, may have played a role.
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“Stephen still has a big role to play within the team,” Cheika said. “This isn’t a farewell right now. He’s fully committed to getting the gold jersey back to the top this year.”
It is not clear who will replace Moore long term.
Tatafu Polota-Nau replaced Moore at No. 2 when the skipper was benched in June, but the Western Force veteran is 32. The only other hooker in the squad is under-20s star Jordan Uelese. NSW’s Tolu Latu is injured while Andrew Ready, Moore’s highly rated Reds teammate, has stalled in his development this year
Source Article from http://www.espn.co.uk/rugby/story/_/id/20166073/wallabies-stephen-moore-announces-test-retirement
Stephen Moore quitting Test rugby
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