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McCabe ready, but is there a spot for him?

Brumbies centre Pat McCabe is ready to return from a broken neck.

Brumbies centre Pat McCabe is ready to return from a broken neck. Photo: Colleen Petch

Pat McCabe's feet are itching to get back into the ACT Brumbies line-up, but the Wallabies centre is unsure how coach Jake White will fit him into a strong back line.

McCabe has resumed contact training after a surgeon gave him the all clear in his recovery from a fractured neck. He has been pencilled in to resume with an ACT XV against Tonga on March 7.

It would mean McCabe won't return for the Brumbies against arch-rival NSW Waratahs at Canberra Stadium two days later, but he's expected to be part of the squad for the two-game trip to South Africa following that.

McCabe injured his neck on the Wallabies' spring tour of Europe in November and wore a brace for two months.

He took that off six weeks ago and has recently resumed contact work. He said he needed more contact training to ensure he was 100 per cent ready to return.

How McCabe pulls up from this week's training will decide whether he resumes against Tonga.

''Physically I feel great,'' he told The Canberra Times on Sunday.

''I've had six weeks of training now since getting out of the neck brace, so I'm feeling good and strong, it's just a matter of getting back into that contact stuff, which is the last hurdle.

''I've been back around the team and been able to train with the team now … [but] I haven't done any breakdown or tackling work just yet. I guess it's just getting confident in those areas and just feeling comfortable and ready to play.''

It has been a bittersweet start to the Super Rugby season for McCabe. The Brumbies sit on top of the ladder after winning their first two matches.

They have plenty of depth in the back line, with McCabe's imminent return to bolster that even further.

Where he'll fit in will be a problem for White and backs coach Stephen Larkham. McCabe can play almost anywhere behind the forwards - wing, fullback, as well as outside and inside centre.

A battle with Andrew Smith for the outside centre spot seems likely.

''I guess it's a nice concern to have, obviously the boys there are playing extremely well at the moment,'' McCabe said. ''Obviously I'd like to play, but if I can't then I'll support the guys who are and just try and make sure we keep winning.''

The Brumbies have a bye this week and resume against the Waratahs at Canberra Stadium on March 9.

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