British & Irish Lions
Sharpe to give Wallabies an edge?
Tue, 30 Apr 2013 06:45
Australia's most capped forward Nathan Sharpe will lend his weight to the Wallabies coaching set-up for the British and Irish Lions tour.
Sharpe never played against the Lions for his country, but he has signed on to help the forwards, a statement said Tuesday ahead of the unveiling of the tourists' squad later in the day.
"I'm looking forward to doing all I can to help get the team ready for what is coming," Sharpe said.
"It's a once every 12 years opportunity isn't it?
"I'd like to have played for Australia against the Lions but it wasn't to be.
"The fact that you can play for 11 seasons at Test level as I did and not get to play against them shows both how rare the opportunity is, but also how much of a privilege it will be for the guys that get to represent the Wallabies in this series."
Head coach Robbie Deans said the decision to have Sharpe assist forwards coach Andrew Blades was straightforward.
"It's appropriate," Deans said. "Perhaps the only difference from the role he had last year is that he won't be putting his boots on.
Sharpe captained the Wallabies 10 times and won in 70 of his 116 Test appearances.
"His experience, leadership and tactical nous will be available to both the playing group and the coaching staff as it was last year. That's a great resource for us to have, given the unique nature of the British and Irish Lions," Deans said.
Sharpe did play for Queensland in a tour match against the Lions during their last visit in 2001, but it was not until the following year that he first donned the Wallaby gold.
The Wallabies also announced the appointment of Scott Murphy as strength and conditioning coach. The Australian returns home after fulfilling the same role at Premiership leaders Saracens.
Other Wallabies coaching staff for 2013 are coaching coordinator Tony McGahan and coaches assistant Nick Scrivener.
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