Pat McCabe shines after another injury scare

08 Mar 2014
Pat McCabe shines after another injury scare

Wallabies and Brumbies number 12 Pat McCabe was sitting in hospital last week waiting on scans on a neck injury that had been broken twice in the last 16 months.

It turned out that the injury was only a muscle strain.

The 20-Test Wallabies back a few short days later then put together an incredible display against the Hurricanes, arguably the most threatening player on both teams.

Running nearly 130 metres in attack, the 25-year-old busted tackles, produced key line breaks and most importantly, was always in the right place at the right time.

Quite in contrast to a Hurricanes back division that kept being caught out on attack, despite the experience of Conrad Smith.

It had been a difficult week for the Brumbies, who were reeling in shock that their star flanker and former Wallabies captain in David Pocock had been ruled out for the entire campaign.

Despite this, Jarrad Butler stepped up to the breach, just days after it was all but made official that Australian rugby legend George Smith would not answer a SOS for the second year in a row.

But most notable was how the Brumbies, measured and tactical as we saw during the Jake White days, took their tactical blueprint up a notch and for the first time this season showed hints of the rear attacking game that head coach Stephen Larkham helped pioneer during his illustrious playing days.

As it is with most solid back offences, one player needs to be willing to straight up the line or pop up in support, and the Manly born McCabe did this all evening, while his Hurricanes opposites crabbed across the field, wary of the hard hitting defence of the visitors.

Larkham, speaking after the match, said that McCabe operated without any ill effects despite his neck scare and of course a head knock earlier in the season during the warm-up fixtures.

"He got a lot of confidence out of the fact that he put his head and upper body through all those contacts," Larkham said.

"He played really well, and he's really put his hand up at the moment as one of our standout players."

The Brumbies head into their huge clash against the Waratahs likely to keep their starting XV intact, and they will hope their performance in Wellington sets them up to ambush the high flying Waratahs.

"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."