As retirement announcements go Wallaby powerhouse Wycliff Palu’s was in complete contrast to the way he played the game.
It was left to his Wallabies coach Michael Cheika on Friday to sheepishly, almost apologetically, inform the world the 58-cap back-rower had retired from international rugby.
No fanfare, but then again that was typical of 34-year old Palu who made his Test debut back in 2006.
He would surely have won more caps had it not been for a number of injuries and will now play for a Japanese club later this year.
Capable of crashing over defenders or flattening opposing attackers, “Cliffy” as he was universally known, was one who always let his on-field deeds do the talking.
“We’ve been trying to make an announcement about it but he’s so humble, he doesn’t want any noise about this stuff,” Cheika said.
“I hassled him a fair bit because he’s one of the greatest servants that we’ve had.
“He’s done so much for Australian rugby and it’s not like he should just be shifting out the side door to go and play in Japan, which is what he’s going to do.
“We’ve been hassling him to do something, but that’s the type of guy he is.
“I’m not supposed to really be announcing it.”
Palu amassed well over 100 caps for the NSW Waratahs, making his debut in 2003 after dabbling in rugby league.
He went to the last three World Cups, though injury cut short his involvement in the 2015 tournament.
“He’s been, for me personally, one of the great players I’ve coached,” said Cheika who coached Palu at both the Wallabies and Waratahs.
“Because of not only the way he plays the game – I like the way he plays the game – but just his attitude towards the team and what he does for his team.
“When he’s involved with it, it’s all class and it’s always understated and it’s never looking for a headline, as you can see.”
THE HARD FACTS OF WALLABY HARD-MAN WYCLIFF PALU’S TEST RUGBY CAREER
*Debut : V England (Melbourne, June 2006)
*Last Test: V England (Sydney, June 2016)
World Cups: 3 (2007, 2011, 2015).