Wallabies want Moore to finish with a flourish

Fri, 24 Nov 2017 20:24

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Australia will have an added incentive to beat Scotland as they aim to send hooker Stephen Moore into retirement with a victory at Murrayfield on Saturday.

The 34-year-old former Wallabies captain confirmed earlier this week that the Edinburgh clash would be his last professional game as both a Test and club Rugby Union player.

It means the Scottish capital will witness the final chapter of a 12-year international career that has seen Moore win an impressive 128 caps for his country, including Australia's loss to New Zealand in the 2015 World Cup Final at Twickenham.  

Moore has been promoted to the starting XV by Wallaby coach Michael Cheika after coming off the bench in last week's 6-30 loss to England at Twickenham as the tourists seek revenge for a 19-24 defeat to the Scots in Sydney in June.

"Stephen Moore's 400th test I think it is!" joked Wallaby assistant coach Nathan Grey on Friday. "He's a real great example of what rugby is all about.

"He's in the group at the moment as the elder statesman, and it's interesting seeing him sit down at meal times and chat with the other guys - sometimes the music choices are a bit above his head!

"He's a really good example for a lot of our younger players and new guys coming through; what it takes to be a real professional and what to be able to perform at this level for such a long period of time.

"It's a real tribute to him as a man."

Grey added: "We're really looking forward to playing well for Steve."

"He will certainly be shown the respect that he deserves for the service he has provided and the best way our players can do that is through what they deliver on the grass. It's how they perform on the field, that's the best tip of the hat they could do for Steve."

Little has separated Scotland and Australia in recent years and the hosts head into their latest clash buoyed by the way they so nearly snatched a stunning win over New Zealand at Murrayfield last weekend, with Grey highlighting the threats posed by fullback Stuart Hogg and flyhalf Finn Russell.

"Hogg at the back, and Finn Russell, if you provide them with any turnover ball or unstructured opportunities, they are exceptional in terms of finding space with their feet, but also identifying poor defending and lapses in the defensive line," Grey explained.

"Finn backs himself to carry through a whole team anyway, he's a very skillful player so that's one side to it. Their defensive breakdown is very good."

Agence France-Presse