Tributes flow for Moore ahead of final Test

International
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Stephen Moore bows out of rugby this weekend, against Scotland at Murrayfield, after 129 Tests and 13 seasons of international rugby.

RUGBY.com.au takes a look back at his career, and the tributes that have been flowing in for the most-capped Australian hooker in history.

MILESTONES

Debut

Stephen Moore made his debut against Samoa in 2005. Photo: Getty ImagesStephen Moore made his Wallabies debut against Samoa in 2005, coming off the bench in a big win, and he recalled being so nervous that night he was keen to just get through without a blunder. He started at Murrayfield in 2006.

50th Test match

Stephen Moore and Nathan Sharpe after Moore's 50th Test in Bloemfontein. Photo: Getty ImagesMoore played his 50th Test in Bloemfontein, when Wallabies back Kurtley Beale slotted a last-gasp penalty to give them a win.

100th Test match

Matt Giteau, George Smith and Stephen Moore ahead of Moore's 100th Test. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart WalmsleyScotland was part of another key milestone for Moore, who played his 100th Test along with Matt Giteau in the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals.

Home farewell

Stephen Moore says farewell to his home crowd. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart WalmsleyThe veteran hooker had a fairytale Australian farewell at Suncorp Stadium, as the Wallabies beat New Zealand.

Moore's teammates

Foley and Moore. Photo: Getty ImagesTo see a sense of Moore's legacy, one need only look to his teammates and how they're feeling about life without him.

Bernard Foley has played with Moore for most of his career and said he owed a lot to his long-time Test captain.

“Everything he's done is for the betterment of this side and he's so world class in his preparation in how he is so methodical about his week and making sure he's in the best position to play his best footy each and every week, it's why he's such a legend for the game and for this team,” he said.

“In every environment he's been in, he's made it a better place because he only wants the best for this jersey and for rugby in Australia.

“As younger leaders, we have learned so much off him, off his experiences and what he's given to this team.

“Even more with Squeak, the experience he shows in terms of the holistic approach to being the best player he can be, is probably the biggest feather in his cap and how he leads in every asset of his life, how he wants to be better and keeps challenging himself ot be the best he possibly can be in every asset, is something that is such a quality of him.

“He’s definitely made this jersey or made this environment a lot better place from when he started or when he came into it. His experience that he's passed down onto us, is definitely put us in a lot better position than if he wasn't around.”Stephen Moore has been a major influence on Will Genia. Photo: Getty imagesMoore said last week that he hoped his legacy was impressing upon the next generation the significance of representing your country, something halfback Will Genia said he had definitely done.

“The times I've been involved in the team while Stephen's been here, which has been quite a while, he's always been someone who's wanted the best for everyone who's represented the country and made sure people realise how proud you should be to wear that jersey and play for Australia.

“I think that's something he's definitely impressed upon the whole group in the time he's been involved and certainly from my point of view every time I see him wear the jersey, it's something I always think about as well, what it does mean to him."

Moore’s successor Michael Hooper has been effusive in speaking about Moore this season and again iterated this week the impact the 34-year-old had left on him.

“Obviously he's held in such high regard by all of us and I can speak for the whole squad and players back at home who have played for him,” he said.

“It will be great for us to come out of this weekend with that improvement we've talked about about how show far we've come.

“He's been instrumental as a mentor when he was captain and to leave that mark and the legacy he's had is fantastic.”

Next generation?

They might be separated in their music choices, but rookie hooker Jordan Uelese feels indebted to Moore, after just a few months in camp with him.

Wallaby coaches

Stephen Moore has left an impression on coaches as much as players. Photo: Getty ImagesIt’s not just his teammates that have heaped praise on the former Test skipper, with Wallabies assistant coach Nathan Grey speaking to his impact.

“He's a real great example of what rugby's all about and he's in the group at the moment and he is the elder statesman and it's interesting seeing him sit down at meal time and chat with the other guys," Grey said.

"Sometimes music choices are a bit above his head and whatnot, but it's a really good example for a lot of our younger players and new guys coming through, around what it takes to be a real professional and to be able to perform at this level for such a long period of time, of which Stephen's done.

“It's a real tribute to him as a man and the support he's had from his family and we're really looking forward to playing well for Steve tomorrow."

Moore’s Test retirement was well-known since his announcement in August and Wallabies coach Michael Cheika paid tribute to his first Test captain ahead of his final Test on home soil.

“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 said at the time.

“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.”

As the hooker prepares for one Moore Test, we’ll leave the final word to his long-time friend and teammate Nathan Sharpe.