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Life is proving to be swell for Higginbotham

Date

Greg Growden

Outside interests are keeping it all in perspective as this rising star reaches his full potential.

Handful of hobbies … Wallabies' Scott Higginbotham (right).

Handful of hobbies … Wallabies' Scott Higginbotham (right). Photo: Colleen Petch

It all revolves around clearing the mind and getting some balance. Avoid turning rugby into an obsession. Immerse yourself in as many varied interests as possible. That philosophy is certainly working for Wallabies and Reds back-rower Scott Higginbotham this season as he has been the standout Australian forward in the Super Rugby tournament.

The potential has always been there. But in his opening seasons, Higginbotham appeared to waste some opportunities, while luck often didn't go his way - particularly when he was about to play his first Test in 2010 against the Springboks in Pretoria. He was ready, primed, but during the warm-ups just 15 minutes before kick-off, his back went. Instead of singing the Australian national anthem, he was in the Wallabies dressing room at Loftus Versfeld, overwhelmed with grief. ''I had a few tears. I just looked at a few holes in the wall,'' he said at the time.

But now there is a real urgency to Higginbotham's game, with his high work rate and often aggressive approach a crucial factor in the Reds' rise up the Super Rugby ladder. These same attributes will make him a Wallabies certainty next month where he will play either at No.8 or blindside breakaway against Scotland and Wales.

Reasons to smile ... Scott Higginbotham.

Reasons to smile ... Scott Higginbotham. Photo: Steve Christo

He believes the reasons for his fine form this season are relatively simple. ''I've tried to enjoy myself a bit more this year. I've had interests outside football and that's helped to keep it all in perspective. I discover if you do have interests outside football, when you go to training you want to train. It's not like training, going home, sleeping, waking up and going to training again,'' Higginbotham said yesterday.

That happens when you decide to open a cafe in Brisbane, called Leaf Espresso. Being in charge of the business ensures you don't wake up in the middle of the night stressing out about rugby. Life becomes more about ensuring there's enough milk in the cafe fridge and spare change in the till.

''The cafe only opened a week ago, but it takes a while to get those types of things set up. So I'm working there when I'm not training. Most of last week I was mainly doing the dishes because the dishwasher was broken.''

Then there is his long-held passion of surfing. Whenever possible he and Reds teammates Luke Morahan and James Slipper go in search of the perfect break.

''We've had some great opportunities to surf this year. James actually spent a bit of money on a jet ski, so that's helped us out there.''

Reds coach Ewen McKenzie is ensuring that Higginbotham keeps his feet firmly planted.

''There is still a lot of things to work on in my game, which Link [McKenzie] at every opportunity he gets will point them out,'' the 25-year-old said.

''He's good like that. You might have a good game, but you wouldn't know it because Link will be telling you what you need to improve on. That's great, because I don't think it is good to be completely happy with your performance. You always want to improve.''

But at least he now feels settled.

''When I first got into the Wallabies, my football was pretty loose. I was probably a bit more stand-offish in those first couple of Tests than I am now. It's easy to come off the bench to really impose yourself on a game, because you're fresh and you're going a million miles an hour. But I found starting against Wales and the Barbarians last year where you were able to play full games, you could settle a bit more.''

But enough rugby, because just over the team hotel wall was the lure of a sloppy Coogee swell and down the road was the wafting smell of roasted coffee beans.

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Super Rugby 2015

Round 1
Fri, 13 FebTimes shown AEDT
CRU 10vs REB 20 Report Stats
BRU 47vs RED 3 Stats
Sat, 14 FebTimes shown AEDT
LIO 8vs HUR 22 Report Stats
BLU 18vs CHF 23 Report Stats
Sun, 15 FebTimes shown AEDT
SHA 29vs CHT 35 Report Stats
BUL 17vs STO 29 Report Stats
WAR 13vs FOR 25 Stats
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Round 2
Fri, 20 FebTimes shown AEDT
CHF 19vs BRU 17 Report Stats
REB 28vs WAR 38 Report Stats
Sat, 21 FebTimes shown AEDT
BUL 13vs HUR 17 Report Stats
HIG 20vs CRU 26 Report Stats
RED 18vs FOR 6 Report Stats
Sun, 22 FebTimes shown AEDT
STO 27vs BLU 16 Report Stats
SHA 29vs LIO 12 Report Stats
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Round 3
Fri, 27 FebTimes shown AEDT
HIG 20vs RED 13 Report Stats
FOR 13vs HUR 42 Stats
Sat, 28 FebTimes shown AEDT
CHT 25vs BLU 24 Report Stats
CHF 40vs CRU 16 Stats
REB 15vs BRU 20 Report Stats
Sun, 01 MarTimes shown AEDT
BUL 43vs SHA 35 Report Stats
LIO 19vs STO 22 Report Stats
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Round 4
Fri, 06 MarTimes shown AEDT
CHF 17vs HIG 20 Report Stats
BRU 27vs FOR 15 Report Stats
Sat, 07 MarTimes shown AEDT
BLU 10vs LIO 13 Report Stats
RED 5vs WAR 23 Report Stats
Sun, 08 MarTimes shown AEDT
CHT 20vs BUL 39 Report Stats
STO 29vs SHA 13 Report Stats
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Round 5
Fri, 13 MarTimes shown AEDT
HUR 30vs BLU 23 Report Stats
FOR 17vs REB 21 Report Stats
Sat, 14 MarTimes shown AEDT
CRU 34vs LIO 6 Report Stats
HIG 26vs WAR 19 Report Stats
RED 0vs BRU 29 Stats
Sun, 15 MarTimes shown AEDT
STO 19vs CHF 28 Report Stats
CHT 10vs SHA 27 Report Stats
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Round 6
Fri, 20 MarTimes shown AEDT
HIG 13vs HUR 20 Report Stats
REB 16vs LIO 20 Report Stats
Sat, 21 MarTimes shown AEDT
CRU 57vs CHT 14 Report Stats
Sun, 22 MarTimes shown AEDT
BUL 25vs FOR 24 Report Stats
SHA 12vs CHF 11 Report Stats
WAR 28vs BRU 13 Report Stats
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Round 7
Fri, 27 MarTimes shown AEDT
HUR 36vs REB 12 Report Stats
RED 17vs LIO 18 Report Stats
Sat, 28 MarTimes shown AEDT
CHF 37vs CHT 27 Report Stats
HIG 39vs STO 21 Report Stats
WAR 23vs BLU 11 Report Stats
Sun, 29 MarTimes shown AEDT
SHA 15vs FOR 9 Report Stats
BUL 31vs CRU 19 Report Stats
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Round 8
Fri, 03 AprTimes shown AEDT
HUR 25vs STO 20 Report Stats
REB 23vs RED 15 Report Stats
Sat, 04 AprTimes shown AEDT
CHF 23vs BLU 16 Report Stats
BRU 20vs CHT 3 Report Stats
Sun, 05 AprTimes shown AEDT
SHA 10vs CRU 52 Report Stats
LIO 22vs BUL 18 Report Stats
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Round 9
Fri, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
BLU 16vs BRU 14 Report Stats
Sat, 11 AprTimes shown AEST
CRU 20vs HIG 25 Report Stats
WAR 18vs STO 32 Report Stats
FOR 15vs CHT 24 Report Stats
Sun, 12 AprTimes shown AEST
LIO 23vs SHA 21 Report Stats
BUL 43vs RED 22 Report Stats
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Round 10
Fri, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
CRU 9vs CHF 26 Report Stats
Sat, 18 AprTimes shown AEST
HUR 24vs WAR 29 Report Stats
HIG 30vs BLU 24 Report Stats
BRU 8vs REB 13 Report Stats
FOR 6vs STO 13 Report Stats
Sun, 19 AprTimes shown AEST
SHA 10vs BUL 17 Report Stats
CHT 17vs RED 18 Report Stats
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Round 11
Fri, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
CHF 35vs FOR 27 Report Stats
BRU 31vs HIG 18 Report Stats
Sat, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
CRU 29vs BLU 15 Report Stats
WAR 18vs REB 16 Report Stats
Sun, 26 AprTimes shown AEST
LIO 34vs CHT 29 Report Stats
STO 15vs BUL 13 Report Stats
RED 19vs HUR 35 Report Stats
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Round 12
Fri, 01 MayTimes shown AEST
HIG 48vs SHA 15 Report Stats
BRU 10vs WAR 13 Report Stats
Sat, 02 MayTimes shown AEST
BLU 41vs FOR 24 Report Stats
HUR 29vs CRU 23 Report Stats
REB 16vs CHF 15 Report Stats
Sun, 03 MayTimes shown AEST
CHT 25vs STO 17 Report Stats
BUL 35vs LIO 33 Report Stats
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Round 13
Fri, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
CRU 58vs RED 17 Report Stats
REB 42vs BLU 22 Report Stats
Sat, 09 MayTimes shown AEST
HUR 32vs SHA 24 Report Stats
FOR 18vs WAR 11 Report Stats
LIO 28vs HIG 23 Report Stats
Sun, 10 MayTimes shown AEST
STO 25vs BRU 24 Report Stats
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Round 14
Fri, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
BLU 23vs BUL 18 Report Stats
RED 46vs REB 29 Report Stats
Sat, 16 MayTimes shown AEST
HUR 22vs CHF 18 Report Stats
WAR 33vs SHA 18 Report Stats
Sun, 17 MayTimes shown AEST
LIO 20vs BRU 30 Report Stats
CHT 24vs HIG 45 Report Stats
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Round 15
Fri, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
CHF 34vs BUL 20 Report Stats
RED 14vs SHA 21 Report Stats
Sat, 23 MayTimes shown AEST
BLU 5vs HUR 29 Report Stats
WAR 32vs CRU 22 Report Stats
FOR 3vs HIG 23 Report Stats
Sun, 24 MayTimes shown AEST
CHT 17vs LIO 40 Report Stats
STO 31vs REB 15 Report Stats
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Round 16
Fri, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
CRU 0vs HUR 0 17:35Trafalgar Park
BRU 0vs BUL 0 19:40GIO Stadium
Sat, 30 MayTimes shown AEST
SHA 0vs REB 0 03:10Growthpoint Kings Park
HIG 0vs CHF 0 17:35Rugby Park
FOR 0vs RED 0 19:40nib Stadium
Sun, 31 MayTimes shown AEST
STO 0vs CHT 0 01:05DHL Newlands
LIO 0vs WAR 0 03:10Emirates Airlines Park
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Round 17
Fri, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
HUR 0vs HIG 0 17:35McLean Park
FOR 0vs BRU 0 21:00nib Stadium
Sat, 06 JunTimes shown AEST
REB 0vs BUL 0 15:30AAMI
BLU 0vs CRU 0 17:35EP
RED 0vs CHF 0 19:40SS
CHT 0vs WAR 0 23:00FSS
Sun, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
STO 0vs LIO 0 01:05DHL Newlands
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Round 18
Fri, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
BLU 0vs HIG 0 17:35EP
REB 0vs FOR 0 19:40AAMI
Sat, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
BRU 0vs CRU 0 15:30GIO Stadium
CHF 0vs HUR 0 17:35Yarrow Stadium
WAR 0vs RED 0 19:40AS
Sun, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
BUL 0vs CHT 0 01:05Loftus Versfeld
SHA 0vs STO 0 03:10Growthpoint Kings Park
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Round 19
Fri, 19 JunTimes shown AEST
7 0vs 7 0 09:00
Sat, 20 JunTimes shown AEST
7 0vs 7 0 09:00
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Round 20
Fri, 26 JunTimes shown AEST
7 0vs 7 0 09:00
Sat, 27 JunTimes shown AEST
7 0vs 7 0 09:00
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Round 21
Sat, 04 JulTimes shown AEST
7 0vs 7 0 09:00
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Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Hurricanes 13 12 1 0 143 57
Waratahs 13 9 4 0 50 41
Stormers 13 9 4 0 42 38
Chiefs 13 9 4 0 87 44
Brumbies 13 7 6 0 102 38
Lions 14 8 6 0 -27 36
Highlanders 13 9 4 0 89 43
Bulls 13 7 6 0 29 35
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