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Come along for the biggest game of our season so far


Patrick McCabe

PLAYING the Waratahs is always the biggest game of the year.

While neither team will make or ruin its finals aspirations by winning or losing tomorrow night, it will still go a long way to determining the make-up of the Australian Conference and the team's mindset - in terms of confidence and where we want to be.

I've never beaten the Waratahs.

I've had two attempts and both times they've managed to walk away with a win. But that's history and tomorrow is a fresh opportunity for a new group, many of whom have never had a chance to play the Tahs before. When my career started straight out of school, my major goal was to play for the Tahs and I was lucky enough to grab a spot in their academy.

During the two years I was with the Waratahs, I learned plenty about my own game and where I needed to be, but couldn't crack the next level to play Super Rugby.

In simple words, I was told I was a good club player but would never play Super Rugby.

For many Brumbies players, this is not a special or unique situation. The original Brumbies were a group of discards, who couldn't get a start anywhere else but came to Canberra for an opportunity.

In a way, I look at our young Brumbies team having been built under similar circumstances with many players being involved with academies around Australia.

Two other guys who never got a crack at the Tahs are journeyman Scott Fardy and Andrew Smith, who have both found a home here in Canberra playing under Jake, Laurie and Bernie.

But whatever the history, our focus this week has not been on them or what has happened in the past. We've concentrated on our own game. We know that if we execute our own game we will come away with the result. The team is full of confidence after a successful tour of South Africa where we managed to claim seven competition points and score 11 tries against the Bulls and the Lions.

We are expecting a big crowd at Canberra Stadium, most of whom will be supporting the Brumbies which will be a nice change from the less-than-warm reception we received the last two weeks in Pretoria and Johannesburg.

Ben Mowen returns to the starting side this week, along with Dan Palmer and Sam Carter. Ben and Dan are especially excited about playing against their former team. It's a credit to the depth of our squad that players of Dan, Ben and Sam's quality can be rotated and rested and we can still win games on the road. Two of the Waratahs' newest faces return to Canberra Stadium for the first time this week in Rocky Elsom and Adam Ashley-Cooper. Both will be looking for a big performance in front of their former home crowd.

In particular, Adam has a long history with the Brumbies having played 78 games for the ACT. More than anyone, Coopy used to love the clash against the Tahs, which is ironic considering he will be wearing a sky blue jersey tomorrow night.

We are hoping for a massive crowd and urge all families to get their kids along for what shapes as the biggest game of our season so far.

Pat McCabe is an ACT Brumbies and Wallabies centre.

6 comments so far

  • Good story although I don't think Pat McCabe would ever use the words journeyman. (SMH Sub editor perhaps)

    It just goes to show that the Tahs haven't really learnt anything from their so-called talent identification, letting soming of the most successful players in Australia slip by.

    Mortlock, George Smith, Mark Gerrard, Fardy, Andrew Smith and McCabe himself to name just a few. The results of these selection misdemenours is for all to see.

    Tahs have never won anything and the Brumbies two Super Rugby Crowns.

    I for one hope the Brumbies give the Tahs a hidin', and still find it sad that I can't find anything endearing about my home State.

    Date and time
    May 04, 2012, 8:38AM
    • Really hoping the Brumbies give the Tahs a flogging.

      Reds supporter
      Sunshine Coast
      Date and time
      May 04, 2012, 10:56AM
      • Thanks for the compliments Pat!
        Third time lucky I think especially with an enthused home crowd to help you out. Should be a cracker of a game.

        inner west, sydney
        Date and time
        May 04, 2012, 10:59AM
        • The Waratahs have a mental block based on the Sydney Harbour Bridge.. how else can one explain the avalanche of players and coaches driving down the Hume to the Brumbies or to other franchises. The Waratahs seem to be fixated with Sydney University( even appointing their coach as coaching co-ordinator) with a nod to a couple of other Southern based clubs. How else does one explain to gallop of talent from northern Sydney to other franchises. Inexplicably current players such as Hugh Perrett and David Harvey do not get a look in while Sydney University second graders such as Jono Jenkins and Paddy Ryan are on Full contracts.

          I support the Tahs and subscribe to their games, for want of an alternative, but I am appalled at the leakage of talent and Pat McCabe, Mark Gerrard, Scott Fardy, Hugh Pyle, Cameron Crawford, Zac Hughes, George Smith, Rod McQueen ( I snuck him in) Caydyn Neville, Brett Sheehan, Pek Cowan, Jono Owen, Beau Robinson and Mark Gerrard are good examples. And when other franchises play the Tahs, I am quietly supporting them for the good of Australian Rugby. Of course when the Tahs paly South African, NZ teams, or one man opposition such as Jonathan Kaplan, then I am in rabid support.

          The Lone Spectator
          Date and time
          May 04, 2012, 9:13PM
          • Mark Gerrard twice.

            Date and time
            May 05, 2012, 12:03AM
          • Well-picked Shop and you win the special prize.. a night out with Jonathan Kaplan, but it does not include flights to and from Argentina. I deliberately mentioned Mark Gerrard twice because of his play for both the Brumbies and the Rebels with an interlude with the Wallabies. The Tahs had a chance to offer him a contract, as a local northern beaches player, , but failed to do so. He is arguably the best field kicker in Super 15 and when the Tahs recently played the Rebels, he was utilised to pin the Tahs into their own corners and he did that superbly. It was an object lesson for the Tahs kickers who seem to kick aimlessly and without any tactical plan ( and it drives supporters apoplectic). And while I'm on this thread I forgot to mention the Holmes Brothers ( who would have justification in feeling bruised by their treatment at the Tahs) and Nic White, premiership winning half at Eastwood, who is starring with the Brumbies. All appear to have been at some point overlooked by what I term the "Southern Sydney Waratahs".

            The Lone Spectator
            Date and time
            May 05, 2012, 10:06AM

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