McCabe set to make Brumbies return
April 2, 2013
Pat McCabe has recovered from the injury suffered in a trial in March when coming back from a broken neck © Getty Images
Brumbies coach Jake White says Wallabies centre Pat McCabe is likely to make his long-awaited Super Rugby return in the competition-leading Brumbies' starting team on Friday night.
And White may also ring in more rotational changes in the home clash with South African newcomers the Kings, with back-up hooker Siliva Siliva set to make his run-on debut in place of Wallabies stalwart Stephen Moore.
White said 25-year-old McCabe had recovered from the hamstring injury he suffered in an ACT XV trial game in early March when making his comeback from a broken neck sustained on the 2012 Wallabies Spring tour to Europe.
"Pat's fine. He's pulled up nicely this week so in all likelihood he'll be involved this weekend," White said.
White indicated that McCabe would most likely return straight to the run-on side.
"The reason for that is I don't want to risk bringing him off the bench and something goes wrong and then you end up playing with 14 men," White said. "So if he's good enough to go, he should be good enough to start."
White added that whether McCabe played at centre or fullback would depend on the fitness of standout fullback Jesse Mogg, who had a 50 per cent chance of playing due to an ongoing shoulder injury.
If McCabe did move to the back it would be a tough blow to stand-in fullback Robbie Coleman, who played well and scored the Brumbies' only try in the win over the Bulls at the weekend.
"It's tough for everyone, that's just the way it works," White said. "Every boy understands that it's not about the individual, it's about the team."
Meanwhile 21-year-old Siliva, a 2008 Australian Schoolboys representative, will add to just the handful of Super Rugby caps he's had off the bench after battling a knee injury in 2012.
White said the decision to blood Siliva wasn't just a move to prepare for losing Moore to Wallabies duty when the British and Irish Lions tour in June, but also much longer term preparation.
"Stephen Moore is getting to the point that at the end of the next World Cup, I don't know where he'll be," White said. "Part of the Australian succession plan and the Brumbies' succession plan is to take Siliva, who was a star as a junior hooker, and bring him into this program."
White emphasised the rotational changes were in no way a sign of disrespect to the second-last placed Kings who have a 1-4 record in their first season.
"It's purely because it's week seven of the competition and we've obviously had tough games," White said.