Sharpe said he was quit' />

SYDNEY - Australia vice-captain Nathan Sharpe has announced he is joining Australia's new Super 14 team Perth next season.

Sharpe said he was quitting the Reds at the end of the season to travel west when the current Super 12 is expanded to 14 teams.

The giant lock agreed to stand down as Queensland skipper for the rest of the season but said he would continue playing with the Reds.

"This was a very big decision for me, but opportunities like this only come up once in a lifetime. When that happens, you have to grab them with both hands," Sharpe said.

Sharpe is the second high-profile test player to join Perth in the past few days, following New South Wales hooker Brendan Cannon.

Perth coach John Mitchell says the Reds captain has signed a three year deal and is seeking greater heights in his career.

Mitchell rates Sharpe highly, describing him as a great all around player who is looking for the opportunity to reach new levels, with a new team.

Mitchell said they have made offers to 20 players after speaking to 33 in the last couple of weeks, and while they have discussed the captaincy with Sharpe, they will wait until the whole squad has formed before a decision is made.