Mortlock re-signs with ARU, Brumbies - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Mortlock re-signs with ARU, Brumbies

By Adrian Warren 28/02/2008 07:05:38 PM Comments (0)

Wallabies captain Stirling Mortlock resisted "enormous money" from overseas and "global interest" in his services to effectively play out his career in Australia.

The powerful 30-year-old Brumbies and Wallabies outside centre has signed a two-year contract extension, taking him to the end of the 2010 season.

The 63-Test stalwart wouldn't rule out continuing to the 2011 World Cup, depending on his fitness and form, but doubted he would ever play overseas.

Australian Rugby Union chief executive John O'Neill said re-signing Mortlock was "very comforting" given the Wallabies had already lost or were about to lose three other champion backs, George Gregan, Stephen Larkham and Chris Latham.

With Mortlock now protected from offshore raids, the likes of forwards Nathan Sharpe and Rocky Elsom were among the handful of major Wallabies unsigned beyond this season.

Mortlock said he retained a burning and huge passion and desire to play for Australia and was also influenced by the appointment of New Zealander Robbie Deans as the new Wallabies coach, plus an emerging crop of young talent.

"There are significant lures to go overseas, but when I weighed everything up and how significant my desire was to play for Australia still, this was definitely the right way forward me," Mortlock told AAP.

"In particular hopefully in the next duration looking at a smooth integration into the workforce post-rugby as well.

"And I think having family in Australia, there were a lot of issues that weighed in to me committing to staying in Australia and not pursuing overseas opportunities.

"I really do think I will see my career out in Australia," added Mortlock, who was looking toward a career in the banking and finance sector.

Mortlock's agent Nick Johnston said his client gave serious consideration to the sizeable offers he was made from a number of overseas suitors.

"There was enormous interest in Stirling out of Japan and Europe, they were offering enormous money, but his desire to play for the Wallabies and to continue to lead his country was the over-riding factor," Johnston said.

"There was global interest in Stirling. Throughout Europe, it was coming from all directions, Wales, Ireland, England and France, it was a very exciting time for Stirling."

Mortlock said his rehabilitation from shoulder surgery was going as well as he could have hoped and he was looking at playing in around five weeks.

He has already spoken to Deans, who he described as "an impressive guy" but emphasised they had not discussed the captaincy.

O'Neill said he didn't allow himself to get over confident about retaining Mortlock, though he gained the impression the robust back wanted to remain in Australia following last year's World Cup disappointment.

"Apart from his deeds in the midfield over a very long period of time, he's shown himself to be an inspirational leader, he's led by example both for the Brumbies and with the Wallabies, a real captain courageous," O'Neill said.

Mortlock said he still had a lot of things he wanted to achieve in a Wallaby jersey.

"It's been a long while since I've been involved with a winning Bledisloe or Tri-Nations Cup campaign," Mortlock said.

"With Robbie Deans as the new coach, that's a significant drawcard. With a lot of new guys coming through hopefully we will be able to initiate some initiatives in how the Wallabies' style changes or innovates itself."

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2020 AAP

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