Super Rugby round eight
Brumbies name Pat McCabe at inside centre
April 4, 2013
Pat McCabe gives the Brumbies proven Test-class strike power © PA Photos
Pat McCabe will make his Super Rugby comeback for the Brumbies at inside centre against the Southern Kings at Canberra Stadium on Friday night. But Brumbies coach Jake White resisted the temptation to overhaul his side with rotational changes for the second-last-placed Kings, with Fotu Auelua coming off the bench to No. 8, Ben Alexander at loose-head prop and run-on debutant Siliva Siliva to hooker for Stephen Moore the only other changes to last week's starting line-up.
McCabe's return to inside centre will push Christian Lealiifano to fly-half to reprise the successful combination of 2012, giving Matt Toomua a rest after three weeks of bruising South African encounters.
"[Toomua] could have played this week if I really wanted to push him through as he's not injured, as in ruled out," White said. "It's more just making sure we get him 100 per cent spot-on going forward. I think it's probably a nice game to give [McCabe] a start as well. He's got a nice settled squad around him. With Christian at 10 and [McCabe] at 12, they played a lot of rugby last year together when Matt got injured early on so it will be good to see that combination playing together."
White said a similar line of thought had applied in decided against rushing fullback Jesse Mogg into the side after a shoulder injury. "With Jesse, I suppose if it was a play-off game or we needed our full-strength team he would be available and selected," White said.
Brumbies: Robbie Coleman; Henry Speight, Tevita Kuridrani, Pat McCabe, Joe Tomane; Christian Lealiifano, Nic White; Fotu Auelua, George Smith, Ben Mowen (captain); Etienne Oosthuizen, Peter Kimlin; Dan Palmer, Siliva Siliva, Ben Alexander. Replacements: Stephen Moore, Scott Sio, Sam Carter, Colby Faingaa, Ian Prior, Andrew Smith, Zack Holmes.