Australian rugby
Hill backs Higginbotham for Wallabies
May 14, 2013
The Rebels' Scott Higginbotham runs in to score a try against the Brumbies, Melbourne Rebels v Brumbies, Super Rugby AAMI Park, Melbourne, February 22, 2013
Scott Higginbotham says he'd "play anywhere" for the Wallabies © Getty Images

Melbourne Rebels coach Damien Hill says skipper Scott Higginbotham deserves to be among the first players picked for the Wallabies squad to face the British & Irish Lions next month.

"My view on Scott is that he is the best backrower in the Australian provinces at the moment," Hill said on Tuesday. "He's outstanding and if anybody wants to take the time to look at his work-rate and contributions in attack and defence, they'll see that he's leading the way."

Fast and physical, Higginbotham has been one of the Rebels' best over the past month in their run of tight losses.

While the Rebels are battling in 12th spot, Higginbotham is in the top 10 try scorers in the Super Rugby competition with four tries, and his ball-running has been matched by his work-rate and rugged defence.

Giant New South Wales backrower Wycliff Palu and Brumbies skipper Ben Mowen are his biggest rivals at No. 8. The 26-year-old can play there or blindside flanker but Hill believed the No.8 position made the most of his skills.

"You probably take away from what he can contribute if you play him at six (blindside) but he'd still be very good."

His physicality and abrasive manner could be just what the Wallabies need as they shape up against the touring Lions, with the first Test in Brisbane on June 22.

"Every game is tough and every team is physical and I suppose the only way you can really survive is to be as physical as your opponents and I suppose that's what I try and do," Higginbotham said.

Despite his impressive form, Higginbotham felt he was no certainty to be included in the initial 25-man squad named on Saturday.

He said he hadn't heard from Wallabies coach Robbie Deans.

"Hopefully I get in that team and if I do, I'll play anywhere," Higginbotham said.


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