Moore to retire from Test rugby at end of 2017

The Rugby Championship
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Outgoing Wallabies captain Stephen Moore thought long and hard about his decision to end his Test career, and there was only one person who truly questioned it.

Moore broke the news to Wallabies coach Michael Cheika on Sunday and his teammates only on Wednesday, after months of debating it in his mind, but said wife, Courtney, was the only one who really pushed back.

“I don’t know why, I was pretty keen to be home a bit more but I think she was playing more the devil’s advocate,” he said.

“(She was was asking), ‘Are you sure this is what you want to do?’"

“I think you need that.

“I’ve been very lucky to have that kind of support around me and good people - some of my best mates, my family have been really supportive in this whole decision and that’s helped me.”Stephen Moore is stepping down from international rugby. Photo: Getty ImagesWithin himself, Moore said he began to realise in recent months that he wouldn’t be part of the 2019 Rugby World Cup plans and that proved the turning point.

“I think you definitely go through that period where you do fight it. You think, 'I'll be fine, I'll be able to do it',” he said.

“I had some great encouragement from my teammates and my coaches but I just got that feeling, probably in the last month or so, that it was the right time.

“I think the commitment required to be the best and to be perform at the highest level is huge.

“I just didn't think I could do that ongoing for another two years leading up to that World Cup.

“I think Cheik will want to have more or less his World Cup team in place by next year and we’ll have a good idea of what that team looks like.”

Moore said Cheika and his teammates were supportive, though his announcement on Wednesday night had some of the players querying whether the brutal Newcastle camp had proven the breaking point for the tireless skipper.

"It’s probably the hardest thing to do telling Cheik and the boys,” he said.Moore says he had a tough time telling his teammates of his decision. Photo: ARU Media“There’s a big spread of players and it was tough to tell them, the bottom lip was starting to go a little bit but I guess that was just normal.

“I think some of the boys thought yesterday I’d just decided after those couple of training days we had, but it wasn’t the case.

“I really thought about it long and hard and I think he (Cheika) knew that straight away, that I was serious about it and he was tremendously supportive."

Though he’ll play for the Reds in 2018 and Tests until the end of this year, Moore said he felt announcing the decision now was a way to ‘clear the air’.

Moore will have one more season with the Reds before calling time on his career. Photo: WalmsleyThough his form has been patchy this season, Moore’s commitment to the team has never been questioned and he said that ultimately took over.

“It clears the air a little bit, gets that speculation in the background and lets the team move forward and the focus should be squarely on the team,” he said.

“I didn’t want it to be about me or whether I could get through to this or that and I felt when I had a good think about it, I didn’t think I could.

“You could say the smart decision personally but also for the team, which at the end of the day, that’s my priority.”Moore spoke to media in Newcastle this morning. Photo: ARU MediaWith four months left as part of the Wallabies setup, Moore wants to leave a mark on the side that many of the players who came before have - as someone who could always be depended upon.

“For me the big thing I tried to pride myself on was being someone in the team who people could rely on,” he said.

“That's something I've tried to carry through and impart on the players now in the team, just to be that player that people know what you're going to get.”

Moore will give up the captaincy immediately, with Michael Hooper widely tipped to take the reins, having led the team in June, but an official announcement is yet to be made.