Injured Wallabies captain James Horwill has praised Nathan Sharpe and is overjoyed that his fellow lock is retiring in a fitting manner.
Horwill, who has been sidelined since June with a serious hamstring injury, called Sharpe a "great of the game" and is delighted that the 112-Test veteran is captaining the Wallabies at the moment.
Sharpe was on the fringes of Australia's matchday 22 last year and ready to retire at the end of this year Super Rugby tournament in July.
But Horwill's injury, as well as Dan Vickerman's retirement, saw the 34-year-old accepting Wallabies coach Robbie Deans' request to play on through the inaugural Rugby Championship.
And injuries to second and third-choice skippers David Pocock and Will Genia saw Sharpe taking over the captaincy of an injury-ravaged Wallabies side last month.
Sharpe's fine leadership and inspirational play has prompted Deans to retain him as captain for Australia's upcoming four-Test tour to Europe where they will face France, England, Italy and Wales.
After the tour he will then finally hang up his boots.
"It couldn't happen to a better bloke," Horwill told AAP.
"He's done some great things and I think it's deserving he's been able to go out in such a way and help influence the team the way he has.
"It's a credit to him that he's given such great service to Australian rugby and he's a guy that I think will go down as one of the greats of the game.
"I think it's great he's got this opportunity."