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McKibbin slots right in, after a cup of tea

Replacement ... halfback Brendan McKibbin.

Replacement ... halfback Brendan McKibbin. Photo: Getty Images

CARDIFF: New Wallabies halfback Brendan McKibbin was about 30 hours into his last-minute journey from Sydney to Cardiff when the driver who picked him up from Heathrow Airport insisted they stop at his house for a cup of tea.

There was a training session to get to, a few team plays to swot up on and some jet-lag to fight. No matter. This was the quintessential welcome to Test match touring for the Waratahs halfback. Unexpected twists, intriguing sidesteps and an introduction to the home side's country few current-generation Wallabies get to experience.

McKibbin, who had woken to the emergency call-up in the form of a pre-dawn text message on Monday morning, was delighted to oblige his driver. A few hours later, kitted out in Wallabies T-shirt but no matching tracksuit pants, the 27-year-old showed no signs of weariness as he tag-teamed departing halfback Brett Sheehan, who was nursing a serious ankle injury.

''I'm pretty excited … It's good to finally be here after a long couple of days of travel,'' he said. ''It is unfortunate for Brett, but if it's the case and this weekend I get a chance to make my debut, I am pretty thrilled about it.''

The debut would come with a catch. If Robbie Deans sends on McKibbin for 30 seconds, the Scottish-born halfback will surrender any eligibility he had to play for the country of his birth.

He thought about the situation for a brief moment on Tuesday afternoon at the Wallabies' hotel but said he had no regrets about re-signing with the Waratahs this year.

''If I can play for Australia, then ultimately that would be fantastic. Yeah, it would knock [Scotland] on the head,'' McKibbin said. ''[A potential Test debut] certainly does make it all worthwhile, it is something I have aspired to do.''

McKibbin, the fifth Test halfback used this year, will be named on the bench in support of Nick Phipps, who returns to the starting No.9 role. In anticipation of a lack of numbers in the specialist role, coach Deans had met with McKibbin a couple of times throughout the year to familiarise him with the Australian set-up.

''We went through, not too long ago, all the plays and the policies. I was familiar with them … so if I do get that opportunity it won't be jumping in the deep end,'' McKibbin said. ''I will have a couple of days to get my head around that and watch a fair bit more footage over the next few days, and dive into training.''

HuffPost Australia

Rugby World Cup 2015

Round 1
Sat, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
ENG 35vs FJI 11 Report Stats
TGA 10vs GEO 17 Report Stats
IRE 50vs CAN 7 Report Stats
Sun, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 32vs JPN 34 Report Stats
FRA 32vs ITA 10 Report Stats
SAM 25vs USA 16 Report Stats
WAL 54vs URU 9 Report Stats
Mon, 21 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 26vs ARG 16 Report Stats
Wed, 23 SepTimes shown AEST
SCO 45vs JPN 10 Report Stats
Thu, 24 SepTimes shown AEST
AUS 28vs FJI 13 Report Stats
FRA 38vs ROM 11 Report Stats
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 58vs NAM 14 Report Stats
Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
ARG 54vs GEO 9 Report Stats
ITA 23vs CAN 18 Report Stats
Sun, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 46vs SAM 6 Report Stats
ENG 25vs WAL 28 Report Stats
AUS 65vs URU 3 Report Stats
SCO 39vs USA 16 Report Stats
Mon, 28 SepTimes shown AEST
IRE 44vs ROM 10 Report Stats
Wed, 30 SepTimes shown AEST
TGA 35vs NAM 21 Report Stats
Fri, 02 OctTimes shown AEST
WAL 23vs FJI 13 Report Stats
FRA 41vs CAN 18 Report Stats
Sat, 03 OctTimes shown AEST
NZL 43vs GEO 10 Report Stats
SAM 5vs JPN 26 Report Stats
Sun, 04 OctTimes shown AEST
SAF 34vs SCO 16 Report Stats
ENG 13vs AUS 33 Report Stats
Mon, 05 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 45vs TGA 16 Report Stats
IRE 16vs ITA 9 Report Stats
Wed, 07 OctTimes shown AEDT
CAN 15vs ROM 17 Report Stats
FJI 47vs URU 15 Report Stats
Thu, 08 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 64vs USA 0 Report Stats
NAM 16vs GEO 17 Stats
Sat, 10 OctTimes shown AEDT
NZL 47vs TGA 9 Stats
Sun, 11 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAM 0vs SCO 0 00:30St James' Park
AUS 0vs WAL 0 02:45Twic
ENG 0vs URU 0 06:00Manch
ARG 0vs NAM 0 22:00Leicester City Stadium
Mon, 12 OctTimes shown AEDT
ITA 0vs ROM 0 00:30Sand
FRA 0vs IRE 0 02:45MilS
USA 0vs JPN 0 06:00Kholm
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sun, 18 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 0vs RUpA 0 02:00Twic
NZL 0vs RUpD 0 06:00MilS
WinD 0vs ARG 0 23:00MilS
Mon, 19 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinA 0vs RUpB 0 02:00Twic
Sun, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF1 0vs WQF2 0 02:00Twic
Mon, 26 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF3 0vs WQF4 0 03:00Twic
Sat, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
LSF1 0vs LSF2 0 07:00The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Sun, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
WSF1 0vs WSF2 0 03:00Twic
View All Fixtures
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Australia 3 3 0 0 97 13
Wales 3 3 0 0 58 13
England 3 1 2 0 1 6
Fiji 4 1 3 0 -17 5
Uruguay 3 0 3 0 -139 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
South Africa 4 3 1 0 120 16
Scotland 3 2 1 0 40 10
Japan 3 2 1 0 -12 8
Samoa 3 1 2 0 -52 4
USA 3 0 3 0 -96 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
New Zealand 4 4 0 0 125 19
Argentina 3 2 1 0 64 10
Georgia 4 2 2 0 -70 8
Tonga 4 1 3 0 -60 6
Namibia 3 0 3 0 -59 1
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Ireland 3 3 0 0 84 14
France 3 3 0 0 72 14
Italy 3 1 2 0 -24 5
Romania 3 1 2 0 -59 4
Canada 4 0 4 0 -73 2
View all

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