Brumbies hail Pat McCabe
March 9, 2014
The Brumbies recorded another road victory by defeating the Hurricanes (video available only in Australia)
Pat McCabe feared his rugby career was over when he went to hospital for scans on his neck after the victory over Western Force. He feared the worst because he had already broken his neck twice in the previous 16 months.
McCabe discovered, however, that he had only strained a muscle, and he returned to produce one of the finest Super Rugby performances of his career in the Brumbies' 29-21 victory over the Hurricanes in Wellington on Friday. The Brumbies and Wallabies centre ran for more than 12 0 metres in attack, made half-a-dozen tackle busts, punched two huge line-breaks, and played a hand in a number of his side's four tries.
"He got a lot of confidence out of the fact that he put his head and upper body through all those contacts," Larkham said of McCabe, who also received a big head knock in the pre-season trial against the Highlanders. "He played really well, and he's really put his hand up at the moment as one of our standout players."
Larkham was also fulsome in his praise of Jarrad Butler, who replaced McCabe's Wallabies team-mate David Pocock in the No.7 jumper when the flanker was ruled out for the season after undergoing his second knee reconstruction in as many years.
"He had an outstanding game, and you'd imagine he'd be there [again next week]," Larkham said.
That's good news for the Brumbies, who will look to head into next the derby against New South Wales Waratahs with an unchanged line-up so as not to disrupt their building momentum - and possibly leap-frog the Tahs to the top rung on the Australian conference ladder.
"It's one of the biggest weeks, if not the biggest week in the calendar for us," Larkham said. "We've been a very passionate team about these games against the Waratahs. We're talking about decades and decades of rivalry between ACT and NSW.