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 EMEA Ltd
"If there was a cross breed of canine called an Underdogdoodle it would win best in show at Crufts." Mark Durden-Smith looks at the Aviva Premiership Final
With the Lions' tour to Australia fast-approaching, ESPN's Austin Healey and Mark Durden-Smith sat down to share their memories of the 2001 trip Down Under
Ask John answers questions on the Leopards' tour to Italy in 1974, brotherly Test sides, Pat McGrath, England's games against the Barbarians and Jacques Brunel
"We were only five metres away in the last Test of getting that try and with Jonny's inevitable conversion, we'd have won it." Tom Hamilton talks to Lions fullback Matt Perry