Sharpe set for century

Wallaby lock Nathan Sharpe is set to win his 100th cap when Australia take on Wales this Friday. [more]

Sharpe set for century

Wallaby lock Nathan Sharpe is set to win his 100th cap when Australia take on Wales this Friday.

The Western Force captain should become the fifth Australian to reach the magical landmark during the third place play off at Eden Park in Auckland.

Wallaby boss Robbie Deans is yet to name his matchday 22 but injury to Dan Vickerman will open the way for Sharpe to return to the fold having been surprisingly dropped for Sunday’s semi-final defeat to New Zealand.

If he is selected for Australia’s final World Cup fixture, Sharpe will join George Gregan (139), George Smith (110), Stephen Larkham (102) and David Campese (101) in Australia's 100-club.

It is perhaps ironic that he will do so against a country that was keen to see him in their colours before he opted for Australia. Sharpe’s Welsh heritage prompted the Welsh Rugby Union to try and persuade the giant second row to head north prior to his Wallaby debut in 2002.

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"Only five guys have done it so that's an incredible achievement … and everyone wants to share that with him," said Wallaby utility back Adam Ashley-Cooper.

"To put on the jersey once is enough and to put it on 100 times is amazing. To share it with a really good mate is special. There's a lot of motivation there."

At 33 years of age, Sharpe is heading into the twilight of his stellar career but he has given no indication that he is ready to hang up his boots just yet. And with the 2013 Lions tour now just over 18 months away, he has the perfect reason to continue his Wallaby love affair.

If Sharpe does feature against Britain and Ireland’s elite, he would be the only Wallaby to have played against the class of 2013 and of 2001. Sharpe started Australia’s A 28-25 win over the Lions in Gosford a decade ago but missed out on a Test place for the three-match series.

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