Wallabies Captain Stephen Moore
REUTERS: Wallabies Captain Stephen Moore has signed a contract with the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) until after the next World Cup and confirmed his controversial move to the Queensland Reds in Super Rugby from 2017.
The 32-year-old hooker, who led the Wallabies to the final of the Rugby World Cup in October and hopes to play in a fourth tournament in Japan in 2019, turned down offers from European clubs to continue to play his rugby on home soil, the ARU said.
“I really feel we are building something special at the Wallabies under (Michael Cheika) and his coaching staff, but there’s a lot more that we want to achieve and I really wanted to be a part of that,” Moore, who has won 102 caps, said in a news release. “As a team, we set some goals for the year and despite falling short in the World Cup final, we achieved a lot of those goals and it was one of the most enjoyable seasons that I’ve had in my career.”
The ACT Brumbies, angry after feeling they had been misled during contract negotiations with Moore, had announced his departure for the Queensland Reds on Thursday.
“My family and I have really enjoyed our time in Canberra and the Brumbies are a fantastic organisation who have been great to us since we arrived here from Brisbane in 2009,” Moore added.
“It was a really difficult call to make but we were keen to get back to Brisbane to be closer to family and felt the timing was right after what will be our eighth year in Canberra.”
Moore, nicknamed “Squeak”, was born to Irish parents in Saudi Arabia before emigrating with his family to Queensland when he was five-years-old.
A no-nonsense front-rower who has been Australia’s first choice hooker for most of the last eight years, Moore’s calm leadership has been credited with helping turn around the culture in the Wallabies squad over the last year.
“I’ve almost run out of superlatives to describe Stephen Moore and the role that he’s played in transforming the Wallabies,” ARU Chief Bill Pulver said.
“He has proven himself as an exceptional leader on the field and is a class individual who personifies the values of our game in the way he conducts himself outside of the game.”