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Higginbotham regrets ban, but not attack on McCaw

Knee in question ... Scott Higginbotham had originally missed out on selection for the 30-man European tour.

Knee in question ... Scott Higginbotham had originally missed out on selection for the 30-man European tour. Photo: Fox Sports

Florence: Wallabies back-rower Scott Higginbotham says he regrets nothing about the headbutt and knee on Richie McCaw that earned him a two-game ban in Brisbane last month.

Higginbotham said the suspension, his first in a four-year professional career, showed him where the line may lie between niggle and citation, but would not change his trademark gritty playing style.

"I don't regret anything I did, it was just football I suppose," he said.

Scott Higginbotham strikes All Blacks captain Richie McCaw in Brisbane last month.

Scott Higginbotham strikes All Blacks captain Richie McCaw in Brisbane last month. Photo: Fox Sports

"I don't think I'd really change anything ... I've been playing for a number of years now and seeing as that's the first [suspension] I think I'm doing all right to be honest."

Higginbotham joined the Wallabies squad the morning of their redemptive Test against England after close friend and former Reds team mate Rob Simmons earned an eight-week suspension for a lifting tackle on France flanker Yannick Nyanga and Kane Douglas was ruled out of the England match with a knee injury.

It was a call-up he was not expecting, having flown to Melbourne to join his new team mates at the Rebels after receiving the suspension.

Higginbotham said he was "filthy" the ban cost him his spot on the spring tour initially.

"It was a tough week because straight after the game I got told I was getting cited on both counts," he said.

"It took about a day or so and then I got the call and the suspension, and then I had to wait another couple of days to find out whether I was going on-tour, so that was three blows in the space of a week ... I was pretty filthy that I wasn't going on tour."

Happy to be available against Italy this weekend and fresh from two weeks' tough pre-season training in Melbourne, Higginbotham said the incident taught him a lesson.

"That really did point out where you could get to and where to draw the line," he said. "It's a physical game but I suppose it taught me that off-the-ball stuff you can leave out."

The Wallabies will be boosted by his athleticism and tough on-field presence against Italy, who will be stinging from a sub-par performance against Tonga and a loss to New Zealand.

Rob Simmons is still with the group while the Wallabies await paperwork from the Six Nations judicial committee that banned him for eight weeks. They are still considering appealing.

Lock Cadeyrn Neville and centre Mitch Inman are also with the camp in Florence after arriving in London on Sunday as back-ups for Simmons, Douglas and centre Pat McCabe.

Higginbotham said he was surprised by Simmons's punishment. "Seeing what Simmo had done, I honestly thought he'd get a slap on the wrist, maybe a game," he said. "And I thought, even if he gets a game, he'd miss the England Test and be playing next week anyway. I wasn't holding my breath [for a call-up], I didn't want to get my hopes up then hear I'm not going over."

Rugby Internationals 2014

Round 1
Sat, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 18 vs TGA 18 Report Stats
FJI 25 vs ITA 14 Report Stats
NZL 20 vs ENG 15 Report Stats
AUS 50 vs FRA 23 Report Stats
Sun, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 47 vs WXV 13 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 29 Report Stats
USA 6 vs SCO 24 Report Stats
CAN 25 vs JPN 34 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sat, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 15 vs ITA Report Stats
FJI 45 vs TGA 17 Report Stats
NZL 28 vs ENG 27 Report Stats
AUS 6 vs FRA Report Stats
Sun, 15 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 38 vs WAL 16 Report Stats
CAN 17 vs SCO 19 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 23 Report Stats
USA 29 vs JPN 37 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 3
Sat, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
ARG 19 vs SCO 21 Report Stats
FJI 13 vs SAM 18 Report Stats
JPN 26 vs ITA 23 Report Stats
AUS 39 vs FRA 13 Stats
NZL 36 vs ENG 13 Report Stats
Sun, 22 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 31 vs WAL 30 Report Stats
USA 38 vs CAN 35 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 4
Sun, 29 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 55 vs SCO 6 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 5
Sun, 02 NovTimes shown AEDT
BAR 36 vs AUS 40 Report Stats
USA 6 vs NZL 74 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 6
Sun, 09 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 24 vs SAM 13 Report Stats
ENG 21 vs NZL 24 Report Stats
WAL 28 vs AUS 33 Report Stats
FRA 40 vs FJI 14 Report Stats
IRE 29 vs RSA 15 Report Stats
SCO 41 vs ARG 31 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 7
Sun, 16 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 18 vs ARG 20 Report Stats
ENG 28 vs RSA 31 Report Stats
WAL 17 vs FJI 13 Report Stats
SCO 16 vs NZL 24 Report Stats
FRA 29 vs AUS 26 Report Stats
Mon, 17 NovTimes shown AEDT
IRE 49 vs GEO 7 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 8
Sun, 23 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 6 vs RSA 22 Report Stats
SCO 37 vs TGA 12 Report Stats
IRE 26 vs AUS 23 Report Stats
WAL 16 vs NZL 34 Report Stats
ENG 28 vs SAM 9 Report Stats
FRA 13 vs ARG 18 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 9
Sun, 30 NovTimes shown AEDT
ENG vs AUS 01:30Twic
WAL vs RSA 01:30MilS
View All Fixtures
 
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