Baxter aims for swansong

Australia's Al Baxter is aiming for an international swansong at the World Cup after he announced his retirement at the end of the season. [more]

Baxter aims for swansong

Australia’s Al Baxter is aiming for an international swansong at the World Cup after he announced his retirement at the end of the season.

With 69 international appearances, Baxter is the Wallabies all-time most-capped prop but he will not have the opportunity to face the Lions in 2013 following the decision to hang up his boots.

Instead he is targeting a recall to Robbie Deans set-up at the World Cup.

Baxter has not played for the Wallabies since 2009 and has fallen down the pecking order with the emergence of a number of young talents. He is under no illusions over where he stands but hopes to go out on a high at the global tournament.

"I'd love to play as many Tests as I possibly could and I'd love to play another World Cup, but obviously that's out of my hands," said Baxter.

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"When I spoke to Deans he was pretty deadbat, as it usually is with Robbie, but he certainly thanked me for my time.

"He was very nice, but he wasn't giving anything away, that's for sure."

After 13 years as a state representative and 119 Super Rugby appearances Baxter is more than happy to be leaving the game on his own terms.

"It was tough in some ways, but easy in others,” added Baxter.

“I love playing rugby union and to give it away is really difficult, but I'd got to a stage where my body was taking about five days to recover between games.

"Seasons were getting longer, everyone seems to be getting bigger and stronger, so I don't think I would have lasted another full pre-season and I certainly wouldn't have lasted another full Super season.

"It's far better to leave when you're still enjoying it because I think the memories are far sweeter."

The 34-year-old will now embark on a career in architecture, something he has pursued on a part-time basis since joining the Waratahs.
 

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