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Wallabies get behind skipper for milestone

AAP logoAAP 25/11/2016 Joe Barton

With another milestone notched this weekend, Wallabies captain Stephen Moore continues to cement his place in Australian rugby record books.

But as Moore gets set to play his 116th Test and draw level with Adam Ashley-Cooper and Nathan Sharpe as the second-most-capped Wallaby ever, few in the team would have had any inkling.

To the experienced Dean Mumm, that typifies Moore's selfless approach.

"The key about Steve and his leadership is that you wouldn't even know it's a potential milestone going on," Mumm told AAP ahead of Saturday's clash with Ireland at the Aviva Stadium.

"He's not keen to talk about those and you thoroughly get the sense that that's not why he's playing rugby.

"This will be his 116th Test, and he's taking a lot of milestones in as he goes now, but that's not why he's doing it."

By the end of the Spring Tour, barring an injury which would force him out of the tour-ending England fixture, only George Gregan's 139 caps will be in front of Moore from an Australian perspective.

And there aren't many in Australian rugby who would back against the 34-year-old giving that record a serious shake, such is his determination to extend his career through both fitness and education as he continually seeks an edge on rivals.

"He's planning on playing on for a while," coach Michael Cheika said.

"So let's not write any epitaphs or scripts about how many games he's played.

"Because I'd say he's looking much more to the future than he is to the past."

Mumm added: "The only way he's going to lose his spot is if someone else is knocking on the door but he's certainly playing well enough now that that's not a consideration.

"He's playing as well as ever and that's a massive credit to him, his training and work ethic to keep the body in the right nick but also the mentality side of things."

The team's skills coach, Mick Byrne, this week marvelled at Moore's willingness to tackle new approaches at training - an indication that he's not on eyeing off a farewell tour in the near future.

He said the skipper's attitude was a reflection of the team he leads.

"The willingness to have a go. Especially some of the senior players, they've got some pretty strong belief systems that they've worked on for maybe eight or nine years and some players, in the case of Stephen has played over 100 Tests," Byrne said.

"And when you come in and ask them to change a little bit of their technique it can be a bit daunting, especially when you come in during Test matches.

"But every single player has had a go, has worked hard to make those little changes to tweak their technique."

WALLBIES TEAM TO FACE IRELAND 15-1

Israel Folau, Dane Haylett-Petty, Tevita Kuridrani, Reece Hodge, Henry Speight, Bernard Foley, Will Genia, David Pocock, Michael Hooper, Dean Mumm, Rob Simmons, Rory Arnold, Sekope Kepu, Stephen Moore, Scott Sio: Interchange: Tolu Latu, James Slipper, Allan Alaatola, Kane Douglas, Sean McMahon, Nick Phipps, Quade Cooper.

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