'Selfless' Moore earns home Test farewell

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

A ‘selfless’ Stephen Moore will have his hometown Test farewell on Saturday, but that’s only because he’s earned it.

Moore will say goodbye to Australian fans in a hometown Bledisloe at Suncorp Stadium, a ground that has been a familiar one for the Queenslander.

He recalled on Thursday travelling to the old Lang Park with his father from Rockhampton, snatching up cheap World Cup tickets with uni mates to watch the 2003 World Cup at the then-brand new Suncorp Stadium and ultimately facing off against the All Blacks and British and Irish Lions on the Brisbane turf.

This week he’s been the one fielding ticket offers, with friends and family keen to share in the moment with the former Wallabies captain.

You certainly find a few more friends in these kinds of weeks,” he joked.

“Everyone comes out of the woodwork, but it is great to get the opportunity to play at home and got a few mates who are going to rock up to the game, my family as well.

“I would like to think they've been there the whole time.

“That means a lot to me but I really want to keep the focus firmly on the team's performance and significance of this game for this particular group of players is really big.

Stephen Moore is all business this week. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart WalmsleyThough he was somewhat reflective on Thursday, Moore was, as has been his wont through his career, all business, reluctant to wax lyrical about sentiment.

And business was exactly what gave him a Brisbane berth, coach Michael Cheika said, after naming Moore over youngster Jordan Uelese for the third Bledisloe clash.

“I would've had total faith in Jordan to play in this game, there's no issue there,” he said.

“We've put him into the lion’s  den a couple of times, he's had some good experience from it, he's hungry to get another one, there's no doubt about it.

“He's going to get many more opportunities going forward.

“As much as I'd like (it) to be a bit more symbolic, Moore deserves his opportunity to play in this game and I'm sure he's going to make it count.”

Cheika was more than happy to heap praise on his long-time skipper, ahead of his last Test in Australia.

“One thing I've noted about him since I've been involved with him in this team is his genuine desire for Australian rugby to be something that the people of the country enjoy and are a part of.

“He's very passionate, a very patriotic Australian and he's been a big part of what we've been able to do with the team...when he came back in 2015.

“(He’s been) doing some of the harder yards for some of this new generation of leadership to start to leave a legacy behind for the next guys, which has probably been missing for us.”

Wallabies halfback Will Genia has played with Moore for most of his career, and said he had left an indelible mark on the side.

“You've heard him speak about what this week means to him and it's all about the team and preparing as well as you can to contribute and the one thing that stands out is just how selfless he's been, being involved in this particular group,” he said.

“That (2015) World Cup year where we had a decent run to the final, it was the first time i'd been involved in a Wallaby team where there was true direction and leadership as far as who we wanted to be seen as, how we wanted to play.

“It's obviously just a great privilege for me to have said that I've played with someone who's played so many Tests for Australia and will go down as a great of Australian rugby and of course in world rugby as well.”

Australia takes on New Zealand in Brisbane on Saturday October 21, kicking off at 7:05pm local, 8:05pm AEDT, LIVE on FOX SPORTS, Network Ten and via RUGBY.com.au RADIO. Buy tickets here.