Mortlock signs to stay with Brumbies

Wallabies skipper Stirling Mortlock has accepted a contract that will keep him in Australia until the end of the 2010 season.

 

The 30-year-old midfielder rejected a lucrative offer from Japan in favor of a new offer from the Australian Rugby Union to remain with the ACT Brumbies in the Super 14 competition.

“We’ve taken our time to deliberate because there’s every chance this contract will see me out as a player,” Mortlock said.


“Obviously there was interest from overseas and that can always present a new challenge. But I’m just really happy to say I’m now committed to playing in Australia.”


Mortlock, who replaced George Gregan as Australia captain at the end of 2006 and guided the Wallabies to the quarterfinals at the last World Cup, where they were upset by England.


Gregan and Stephen Larkham, with more than 230 tests between them and longtime teammates of Mortlock’s at the Brumbies, retired from international rugby after the World Cup.


The loss of Mortlock would have compounded Australia’s lack of experience in the ranks of the inside backs.


“One of the significant factors for me, from a playing perspective, was to be part of Australian rugby’s next generation,” Mortlock said.


“So too is the prospect of playing under new Wallabies coach Robbie Deans.”


Mortlock said the arrival of New Zealander Deans, the first foreign head coach for the Wallabies, to replace World Cup coach John Connolly would bring a “new era” for Australian rugby.


“It has helped fuel my desire to keep playing with the Brumbies and Wallabies,” he said.


“The script didn’t go according to plan in France last year, but I feel as though moving forward there are great opportunities awaiting the game in Australia.”


ARU chief John O’Neill said re-signing the 63-test veteran was significant moving forward.


“We’re in a period when Australian rugby has said goodbye, or is preparing to farewell, some of its longest-serving stars,” he said.


“While that has to be expected, you also want to maintain a level of experience in the ranks.” Mortlock is recovering from injury and expected to rejoin the Brumbies for the Super 14 next month.


He has 99 Super rugby caps and 875 points since making his debut in 1998.

 

Super14.com

 

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