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Wed Apr 23 12:32:34 SAST 2014

Former Wallabies captain Mortlock announces retirement

Reuters | 17 June, 2012 10:260 Comments
Super Rugby Rd 11 - Rebels v Bulls
Stirling Mortlock of the Rebels runs with the ball during the Super Rugby match between the Rebels and the Bulls at AAMI Park on May 4, 2012 in Melbourne, Australia
Image by: Quinn Rooney / Getty Images

Melbourne Rebels captain Stirling Mortlock will end his playing career at the end of the Super Rugby season next month, the former Wallabies skipper said on Sunday.

The 35-year-old veteran of 80 tests, including 29 as Australia captain, has been battling calf muscle injuries this season.

“Being on the sidelines for nine of 10 weeks this season was extremely frustrating and tough. My body is back in the shape I want it to be but I think it is the right time,” said Mortlock, who excelled as an outside centre during his prime.

“There’s no secret I still love what I do and still love playing. It’s more about my body,” said Mortlock, who played more than 140 Super Rugby games since his 1998 debut at the Brumbies.

Mortlock’s final game on home soil will be against Super Rugby champions Queensland Reds on June 29 before he flies to South Africa for the Rebels’ last two matches.

Mortlock toured Argentina as a 20-year-old in 1998 but had to wait two more years before making his test debut against the same opponents in Brisbane.

His last test was against South Africa in Cape Town in 2009.

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