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Wales and Luke Charteris out to crash Nathan Sharpe's Aussie party

Updated: Wednesday, 28 Nov 2012 15:23 | Comments

Nathan Sharpe will be making his final bow against Wales
Nathan Sharpe will be making his final bow against Wales

Luke Charteris will aim to spoil Australia captain Nathan Sharpe's retirement party on Saturday - but his respect for the Wallabies skipper is immense.

Sharpe is set to make his 116th and final Test match appearance at the Millennium Stadium this weekend.

The 34-year-old lock's international career should have been over by now, but he answered the injury-hit Wallabies' SOS for an autumn tour that has seen them beat England and Italy after losing heavily to France.

"Is it his last game this time?" said Wales second-row forward Charteris. "He has retired a few times and keeps coming back!

"Seriously, I've been lucky enough to go up against him a few times, and he is a quality player.

"He really is one of the standout second-rows of the last 10 or 15 years, and if this is his last game then he has certainly earned his rest."

"We know that we are capable of beating them, it is just making sure we nail the little moments that have cost us in the past," - Luke Charteris.

Charteris and Wales have got it all to do on Saturday as an autumn campaign that has produced successive defeats against Argentina, Samoa and New Zealand reaches its conclusion.

If Wales lose, they will drop outside the world's top eight-ranked teams and be bracketed among the tier three nations in next Monday's 2015 World Cup pool draw, meaning the probability of a punishing group.

And victory would be achieved against an Australian team that has won seven Tests on the bounce against Wales and only lost twice in the fixture since 1987.

Five of those victories arrived in the past 13 months, although Wales lost two games by a combined total of just three points on last summer's tour Down Under.

"The games have been pretty close, yet it's 5-0 to Australia and that does not look good," Charteris added.

"We know that we are capable of beating them, it is just making sure we nail the little moments that have cost us in the past.

"We know their individual players better than other teams, but it's not a case of knowing what to expect. We still have to do our homework and see what new challenges they have brought into their game.

"It is the last game of a long season for them and their bodies will be tired, but at the back of their minds they know that they are 80 minutes away from being on the beach with their feet up."

Wales' well-documented injury problems, meanwhile, show no sign of abating, with the Ospreys announcing today that prop Aaron Jarvis will not play again this season after he suffered a knee ligament injury during the 33-10 defeat against world champions New Zealand last Saturday.

The Ospreys tighthead was carried off in the third minute and will now require surgery.

Exeter-born Jarvis, who made his Test debut against Argentina earlier this month, has been ruled of Wales' RBS 6 Nations title defence, which begins in February.

Jarvis now joins his Ospreys and Wales colleagues Adam Jones, Alun-Wyn Jones and Richard Hibbard on the sidelines, while Newport Gwent Dragons flanker Dan Lydiate is also a long-term absentee.

Head coach Warren Gatland has delayed his team announcement for Australia by 48 hours while injuries are assessed. It is due to be unveiled tomorrow lunchtime.

Wing George North, centre Jamie Roberts, lock Ian Evans and flanker Ryan Jones are among those whose fitness Gatland is sweating on.

Jarvis, who played for Bath before joining the Ospreys, made an impressive start to his international career, filling the void left by Adam Jones' knee injury that is likely to rule him out until after Christmas.

Cardiff Blues forward Scott Andrews, who took over from Jarvis against the All Blacks, is his probable replacement, with 20-year-old uncapped Scarlets prop Samson Lee likely to be among the substitutes.

Ospreys chief operations officer Andrew Hore, meanwhile, has been left to reflect on a crippling injury crisis at the Swansea-based region.

"It is particularly bad news for us, coming at a time when our resources have already been badly hit through injury and just before our biggest games of the season so far - the back-to-back Heineken Cup matches against Toulouse," Hore said.

"The current season structure sees games in the top European competition go straight into a month of Test rugby, and then back into Europe and the Welsh derbies for a crucial month-long period in December and January.

"Looking at the players we have lost through injury in recent weeks it's clear that the structure isn't working, for the (Welsh) national body or the regional partners, and it needs to be looked at globally."

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