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Higginbotham regrets missing tour


Stathi Paxinos

Scott Higginbotham of the Wallabies.

Scott Higginbotham of the Wallabies. Photo: Getty Images

SUSPENDED Australian loose forward Scott Higginbotham yesterday said he regretted his actions in kneeing and head-butting New Zealand captain Richie McCaw with the few moments of poor judgment keeping him from the European tour his Wallaby teammates will leave for tomorrow.

Melbourne Rebels recruit Higginbotham was banned for two games after the incidents in the Bledisloe Cup in Brisbane earlier this month. The suspension, which meant Higginbotham would only be available for the final Tests against Italy and Wales, forced Wallabies coach Robbie Deans to omit him from the Australian squad.

''I'd be silly if I said I didn't regret it,'' Higginbotham said.

''That would be like saying I didn't care about going on the spring tour. Obviously, if I didn't do what I did, I'd probably be happily waiting to head into Sydney and get myself ready to head over to Europe.

''It's disappointing in that regard, but I guess the positive to take out of it is that I'm not just jumping in the deep end in January with the Rebels. I get to meet all the guys and get a decent whack of pre-season in over the next month or so.''

Higginbotham, who took part in his first training session with the squad after arriving in Melbourne on Sunday night, said he was happy to play at blindside breakaway with the Rebels, which would allow incumbent No. 8 Gareth Delve to remain in the position where he has so impressed during the past two seasons.

''With the Reds there was an opportunity to play No. 8 and it was something I hadn't done much of,'' Higginbotham said.

''I think at Super Rugby level it doesn't matter too much whether you play six [blindside breakaway] or eight, it's quite similar but when you get up to national standard there's is a fair difference and playing six I'd much prefer at that level.

''I think going into a Lions tour and everything next year and with Gareth Delve doing such a good job at eight and being such a good player … I'm more than happy to play six.''

At 195 centimetres tall and weighing 110 kilograms, Higginbotham is no lightweight, but he was surprised by the size of some of the Melbourne players such as skipper Delve and locks Cadeyrn Neville and Hugh Pyle.

''Blokes down here … there are some big boys. Being with the Reds previously we were a small pack.

''We were a good team but there are a lot of solid boys [here] and a lot of stuff to look forward to.''

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Rugby World Cup 2015
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France 4 3 1 0 57 14
Italy 4 2 2 0 -14 10
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