With skipper James Horwill ruled out with a hamstring tear, and Dan Vickerman also sidelined, Wallaby coach Robbie Deans was delighted to be able to call on the experience of Sharpe to add some grit and know-how to his pack.
But while Sharpe, who played against the 2001 Lions for Queensland Reds in his formative years, is delighted to be back in the Test arena in June, the long term decision on his playing future has already been made.
"I am retiring at the end of the Super Rugby season. I told Robbie at the start of the year that if he needed or wanted me in June, this being the first year we have had Tests within the Super Rugby competition, I would love to play for my country," said Sharpe.
Sharpe won his 100th cap against Wales in the Bronze Final at the 2011 World Cup and became the first player to play 150 Super Rugby games earlier this year. One of only three locks in the world game to have reached a century of caps - Fabien Pelous and Victor Matfield are the others - his international extension could depend on how quickly Horwill and Vickerman recover.
But, despite being offered a Super Rugby contract next season by the Brumbies, he has decided to hang up his boots at professional level and watch from the sidelines when the Lions return to Australia for their 125th anniversary tour next year.
16 June, 2001, Ballymore, Brisbane - Queensland Reds 8 British Lions 42
HT: 3-32 Att: 18,337
Queensland Reds: M Tabrett; J Pelesasa, D Herbert (capt), S Kefu, D McCallum; E Flatley, S Cordingley; N Stiles, M Foley, G Panoho, N Sharpe, M Connors, M Cockbain, D Croft, T Kefu
Replacements used: J Ramsamy, A Scotney, B Wakely, S Kerr, S Hardman, J Roe
Scorers: Try: S Cordingley; Pen: E Flatley
British & Irish Lions: I Balshaw; D James, B O'Driscoll, R Henderson, D Luger; J Wilkinson, R Howley; T Smith, K Wood, P Vickery, M Johnson (capt), D Grewcock, R Hill, N Back, M Corry
Replacements used: M Dawson, J Robinson, C Charvis, S Murray
Scorers: Tries: D James, B O'Driscoll, R Henderson, D Luger, R Hill; Cons: J Wilkinson 4; Pens: J Wilkinson 3