Qantas Wallabies captain Stephen Moore has set his sights on another shot at Rugby World Cup glory after signing on with Australian Rugby until the end of 2019.
Moore’s new three-year contract with the Australian Rugby Union commences in 2017 and will see him return to his home state of Queensland to play Super Rugby with the Queensland Reds.
The 32-year-old was the first hooker to captain the Wallabies at a Rugby World Cup, playing his 100th Test and leading the team admirably to a place in the Final where the men in gold ultimately fell to New Zealand.
In 2015 under the stewardship of Moore and Coach Michael Cheika and his staff, the Qantas Wallabies climbed from sixth to second place in the world rankings and won 83% of their matches.
Moore, who will make his 150th appearance in Asteron Life Super Rugby in his next match, will play his final season with the Brumbies in 2016 after captaining the side to a third consecutive finals appearance in 2015.
After considering opportunities to continue his playing career overseas beyond 2016, Moore said he had unfinished business in Australian Rugby and is motivated to build on the success of the Wallabies’ Rugby World Cup campaign.
“I really feel we are building something special at the Wallabies under 'Cheik' (Michael Cheika) and his coaching staff, but there’s a lot more that we want to achieve and I really wanted to be a part of that.
“As a team we set some goals for the year and despite falling short in the World Cup Final, we achieved a lot of those goals and it was one of the most enjoyable seasons that I’ve had in my career.
Moore acknowledged that although the 2019 Rugby World Cup is on the distant horizon, part of his motivation in continuing his career in Australia was the goal of playing on the game’s biggest stage for a fourth time in his career.
“I’ll be 36 at the next World Cup and obviously form and a lot of other factors come in to it. If I am playing well and healthy, and if I’m the right fit for the team when the time comes, I’d love the opportunity to play at another World Cup.
“It’s extremely rare for a player to play in four World Cups and I’m under no illusions that it’s going to happen for me without a lot of those factors working in my favour.”
Moore said he decided to return to Queensland to be closer to family and to finish his career in Australia where it began, having debuted for the Reds in 2003 and made 47 Super Rugby appearances before joining the Brumbies in 2009.
“My family and I have really enjoyed our time in Canberra and the Brumbies are a fantastic organisation who have been great to us since we arrived here from Brisbane in 2009.
“It was a really difficult call to make but we were keen to get back to Brisbane to be closer to family and felt the timing was right after what will be our eighth year in Canberra.
“Queensland is where I started my career and from a distance, it seems like the Reds are building a strong program, which I'm looking forward to being a part of from 2017.
“I’m really excited about the year ahead with the Brumbies and the Wallabies. We’ve made the finals the past three years at the Brumbies but we want that championship. It would give the game a massive lift in Canberra.”
“With the Wallabies it’s a huge year. England comes here in June for three Tests and then we’ve got an opportunity to retain The Rugby Championship and three Tests against New Zealand for the Bledisloe Cup. Then at the end of the year there’s a Grand Slam Tour, so that’s one of the most exciting years we’ve had in a long time.”
ARU CEO Bill Pulver said re-signing the Qantas Wallabies skipper caps off a resurgent year for Australian Rugby.
“I’ve almost run out of superlatives to describe Stephen Moore and the role that he’s played in transforming the Wallabies.
“He has proven himself as an exceptional leader on the field and is a class individual who personifies the values of our game in the way he conducts himself outside of the game.
“By committing to Australian Rugby until 2019 Stephen has shown great faith in the Wallabies program and belief in the direction the game is heading in Australia. It’s a wonderful result for our game.”