Veterans have stood the test of time

by Staff Writer

When Matt Giteau and Stephen Moore play their 100th Tests on Sunday, only six other Wallabies will know how significant it is.

One, Adam Ashley-Cooper will be on the field with them, another in Stephen Larkham, on the sidelines.

Nathan Sharpe and George Gregan will be adding insights as part of their respective television gigs, while David Campese delivers his own via Twitter videos.

George Smith will be recovering after playing for the Wasps against the Harlequins on Friday night.

Smith was on hand to present Giteau and Moore, both former teammates of his, with their 100-Test jerseys on Friday.

His own third spot in the all-time Wallaby Test caps will be surpassed by Ashley-Cooper in the match against Scotland but he knows intimately the achievement of reaching triple figures.

“I don’t think players set out to play 100 Tests when they first play rugby,” he said.

“As time goes on and the chance to play for the Wallabies sort of comes along.

“The consistency you need to get 100 selections is a feat in itself and there is a reason why there is only a handful of people who do reach 100 tests.”

Ashley-Cooper spoke this week of the feeling of playing his 100th Test last year and Moore and Giteau’s focus heading into the match.

“I think the 100th milestone is a special achievement, it really is,” he said.

“I remember my 100th. It was a special week,. The guys got around me and made it a memorable one.

“Early on in the week Michael asked the boys to stand up and asked they were going to approach the week, what they were thinking about achieving in their 100th.

“Both of them got up and said how proud they were to represent their country and represent their country for the 100th time but it was more about team success.

“They’ve experienced individual success and team success but they know what feels better.”

Sharpe said the pair’s team orientation was shown in their reluctance to talk too much about their milestones this week, quickly deflecting to the overall job at hand.

“I think that’s the reason I used to love playing with them is because they would play harder for the guy next to them,” he said.

“In a team environment that’s the sort of action. two of the best teammates, no wonder they don't want to talk about it

“That’s what you’d expect from them."

Sharpe said the milestone would be recognition for the ultimate consistency.

“That’s the nice thing about both those guys - so much goes unnoticed,” he said.

“Even AAC as well - he plays at an eight out of 10 level or nine out of 10 each week.

"There’s expectation that they’re still playing that and for them to be spoken about they need to be playing 11 out of 10, because that’s the standard they set."

“They’re the guys that you want on the field because they play an eight or a nine game no matter what’s happening on the field.

“That’s why they’ve played 100 tests and they’ve withstood that pressure and that test of time.”

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