Australian Rugby
Sharpe claims award hat-trick
ESPNscrum Staff
December 14, 2011
Western Force lock Nathan Sharpe looks for support, Western Force v Brumbies, Super Rugby, nib Stadium, Perth, Australia, May 27, 2011
Nathan Sharpe became the most capped Super Rugby player ever earlier this year © Getty Images
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Western Force lock Nathan Sharpe has claimed the Australian Rugby Union Players' Association's Medal of Excellence - the third time he has scooped the honour.

Super Rugby players from across the country elevated the 33-year-old Force skipper into rare company by rewarding him for an outstanding year. In his 14th Super Rugby campaign, Sharpe surpassed former Brumbies playmaker George Gregan as the most capped Super Rugby player in history and joins the legendary scrum-half as the only player to be presented with the honour on three occasions.

In another season in which his leadership and consistency was instrumental, Sharpe also broke the Force's long-standing consecutive appearance record when he played his 53rd straight match for the Perth-based franchise. He also became the fourth most capped Wallabies international when he took the field against Wales earlier this month.

Sharpe edged out team-mate David Pocock and the Rebels' Mark Gerrard and the Brumbies' Pat McCabe and Stephen Moore for the award that he also won in 2002 and again in 2005.

In September, Wallabies fullback Kurtley Beale was awarded the John Eales Medal after winning a player-poll to find the country's Player of the Year while Reds' scrum-half Will Genia won the vote to be named Australia's Super Rugby Player of the Year in June.

RUPA 'Medal for Excellence' winners:
2001 - George Gregan
2002 - Nathan Sharpe
2003 - Brendan Cannon
2004 - George Gregan
2005 - Nathan Sharpe
2006 - George Gregan
2007 - George Smith
2008 - George Smith
2009 - Berrick Barnes
2010 - David Pocock
2011 - Nathan Sharpe

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