Super Rugby Round 16 - Reds v Rebels
Higginbotham, Pyle sidelined 'indefinitely'
ESPN Staff
June 2, 2013

Melbourne Rebels stars Scott Higginbotham, Hugh Pyle and Jarrod Saffy will all be on the sidelines indefinitely, having sustained injuries in the Super Rugby loss to Queensland Reds at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane on Saturday.

Higginbotham and Pyle each sustained shoulder injuries of undetermined severity in the fierce clash, while Saffy strained a medial ligament strain. Saffy remained on the field, however, as the Rebels had no reserve forwards, but club officials are optimistic he will miss only one match, against the Brumbies in Canberra on Friday, and that he will be available to face the British & Irish Lions at AAMI Park on June 25.

Higginbotham remained in Brisbane on Sunday, and he will travel to Sydney on Monday to have initial scans on his injured shoulder and to undergo assessment by Wallabies medical staff as the squad assembles ahead of the three Tests against the British & Irish Lions. Pyle, meanwhile, will have scans in Melbourne on Sunday evening, and a shoulder specialist will review his injury early in the coming week to determine if he requires further action.

The Reds won an arm-wrestle against the Rebels (video available only in Australia)

Melbourne Rebels officials believe they will know the full extent of Higginbotham's injury on Monday, but the player is clinging to hope that he will play some part for the Wallabies in the three-Test series against the Lions. Higginbotham was buoyed by a whirlwind check-up by leading sports surgeon Peter Myers before he arrived at the post-match press conference with his right arm in a sling, saying "Peter Myers, he thinks I can definitely play with it ... hopefully I'll be right to train and push on for selection for the Lions. The doc said I could definitely play with it if I don't need surgery - I'll push on and strengthen it."

Higginbotham, meanwhile, expressed dissatisfaction with Reds flanker Beau Robinson, with whom the Rebels had a running battle throughout the heated clash at Suncorp Stadium. Robinson was given a yellow card in the 22nd minute of the match, for punching Scott Fuglistaller, and Higginbotham alluded that the Queenslander had played a role in his injury.

"When I went to tackle Beau I hit his knee," Higginbotham said. "His knee had to be pretty high for me to tackle so you can make your own call on that." Asked whether he was blaming Robinson for his injury, Higginbotham said: "I didn't say that at all. I said you can make up your own mind. I am just unlucky I guess."

Rebels coach Damien Hill refused to blame the loss of Higginbotham and Pyle for his team's error-ridden capitulation in the final 20 minutes against the Reds. "Cadeyrn [Neville] replaced Hugh and Gareth [Delve] replaced 'Higgers', and they're two very good players," Hill said. "The fact that Scott and Hughie have been two of our consistent 80-minute players didn't help; it did affect the rhythm a little bit, but Cadeyrn's a very good player and so is Gareth, so we can't put it down to that. Put that last 20 minutes down to they played field position a lot better than we did and we just made too many mistakes. But for the first 60 minutes, I was extremely pleased with the guys."

The British & Irish Lions made a winning start to their tour (video available only in Australia)
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