Mortlock announces retirement
June 17, 2012
Stirling Mortlock will exit the game this year © Getty Images
Melbourne Rebels captain and former Wallabies skipper Stirling Mortlock announced his retirement from rugby on Sunday.
Mortlock, who amassed 80 Test caps between 2000 and 2009, will hang up his boots at the end of the Super Rugby season. His 489 international points rank him fourth on the all-time scoring list for the Wallabies, while his haul of 29 tries puts him seventh on the Australian charts.
Mortlock said he was still coming to terms with his decision to exit the game.
"Since my first Wallabies tour in 1997 I have been able to travel the world, with some amazing people, while playing the game I love," Mortlock said.
"It really has been an incredible journey and it will take some time for this to sink in. However, my immediate focus remains on finishing my career with the Rebels on a positive note."
Mortlock was joined at Sunday's announcement by Rebels CEO Steven Boland, who praised the contribution of the club's inaugural captain.
"What can you say about someone who has played such an integral role in rugby union in this country?" Boland said. "Stirling's contribution to the game has been significant and his legacy goes well beyond just the Rebels.
"His playing career with the Brumbies, Wallabies and the Rebels has been nothing short of incredible, and he retires as a true legend of the game.
"Since joining the club, Mortlock has been instrumental in establishing our club and it's culture. His leadership has been crucial and this contribution will hold us in good stead moving forward."
Rebels head coach Damien Hill also spoke of Mortlock's influence on the fledgling club.
"As a start up club, it is vital that you have the right leadership in place," Hill said. "We needed someone to steer the ship on the field and I could not think of a stronger leader than Stirling, he has an uncompromising attitude towards his training and preparation, which makes him an example for the younger players to follow.
"I truly believe that the example Stirling has set, will pay dividends as our younger players develop in future years. The next generation of leaders at our club will now follow a path that was forged by Stirling over the past two seasons."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
The Heineken Cup proved once again just why it is the best domestic rugby competition in the world at the weekend and Monday Maul picks out some of the key talking points
The latest Week in Pictures brings you a selection of the best snaps from around the rugby world with scantily clad ladies, O'Driscoll and snow all featuring
"If I miss the first kick of the match, it shouldn't have any impact on the second. They are different entities." Tom Hamilton talks to Northampton Saints' Stephen Myler
It's time for those running Welsh rugby to stop trying to prevent its players heading to France and to start planning a future without them, writes Martin Williamson