Abrasive hooker Stephen Moore should lead the Wallabies all the way to the 2015 World Cup, according to former Test skipper Nathan Sharpe.
Former Test skipper Nathan Sharpe has declared hard-nosed Wallabies stalwart Stephen Moore tailor-made to lead Australia through to next year’s Rugby World Cup.
Moore is the firming front-runner for the captaincy, to be announced by coach Ewen McKenzie on Monday, and Sharpe believes the timing is perfect for the 31-year-old to finally ascend to the throne.
The Brumbies hooker is nine years older than the other prime contender, flanker Michael Hooper, and has never been made captain at Super Rugby or Test level.
A long-time former teammate at Queensland and the Wallabies, Sharpe hinted Moore’s “direct” style as a long-time standard-bearer didn’t always make him the most popular teammate.
But the 116-Test lock argued the in-form rake possessed all the strong attributes required to lead the way in a 16-month run towards the showpiece tournament in England.
“He can be a bit abrasive at times but I think given the accountability of being captain he would do a fantastic job for the Wallabies going into the World Cup,” Sharpe told AAP.
“I think the timing couldn’t be any better for him to take over the reins.
“I really like to see someone serve a long apprenticeship … and he’s always been there or thereabouts in leadership groups.”
Moore appeared poised to take the Brumbies captaincy in 2012 but Jake White surprised by choosing NSW recruit Ben Mowen.
Ironically, it’s Mowen’s looming move to Montpellier which has left the Wallabies job vacant to leave McKenzie with a choice between Moore, Hooper, James Horwill and Will Genia before next week’s first Test against France.
Sharpe captained Moore when he cut his teeth in Super Rugby at the fracturing Reds in 2005 and also when the second-rower ended his Wallabies career under Robbie Deans in 2012.
He said few players harboured more pride in playing for the Wallabies than the 91-Test veteran or were more professional in their approach.
“You have to have a guy that lives and breathes what he speaks and Steve does that,” Sharpe said.
“He understands what a winning culture takes. He’s been in teams that have done it well and he’s been in teams that have done it poorly.
“He has a tremendous amount of pride in the Wallabies jersey which is something that is really important.”