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Move home gives Tom McVerry another bite at rugby victory

Tom McVerry with wife Louise and 17-month-old Lucy.

Tom McVerry with wife Louise and 17-month-old Lucy. Photo: Jamila Toderas

Louise McVerry was walking through a Japanese shopping centre when she collapsed.

No one knew she had a brain tumour. But rugby playing husband Tom knew it was "time to come home" as he sat with his wife in hospital, struggling to breakdown the language barrier and coming to grips with life-changing news.

At the time, 13 months ago and after six years playing in Japan, most Australian rugby fans had never heard of Tom McVerry.

Louise McVerry with daughter Lucy at a Brumbies game in 2014.

Louise McVerry with daughter Lucy at a Brumbies game in 2014.

Fast-forward to the biggest match in Australian rugby in more than a decade and a case of synchronicity has landed McVerry in the ACT Brumbies line-up for a clash against the NSW Waratahs on Saturday night, and Louise' scan this week showed no new growth.

McVerry, Louise and daughters Milla and Lucy wanted to come back to Australia this year to be closer to family and friends after a tough 12 months of treatment.

At the same time Brumbies superstar David Pocock suffered a season-ending knee injury, inadvertently opening the door for McVerry to make a Super Rugby comeback in Canberra.

And Lousie' character and strength through her tough times has inspired McVerry.

"We were on a family outing at our local Japanese market when Lou just collapsed out of the blue and had multiple seizures. It was terrifying," Mcverry said.

"Later that night they dropped the bomb that Lou had a brain tumour in her frontal lobe.

"It was confronting. Daunting. We didn't know how to attack it. They wanted to operate, but I knew it was time to come home.

"Lou was extremely strong and courageous. Not once in her darkest time did she say, 'why did this happen to me'. I thought that was pretty bloody amazing."

McVerry is on the Brumbies' bench for the Super Rugby semi-final against the Waratahs at Allianz Stadium.

If the Brumbies win they will earn a grand-final berth against either the Canterbury Crusaders or the Durban Sharks. If they lose, McVerry will finish his 10-year professional rugby career.

McVerry played 55 games over seven years with the Queensland Reds before moving his career to Japan in 2007.

Louise' brain tumour changed his life, but McVerry doesn't want his family's story to overshadow the Brumbies' bid for Super Rugby success.

Louise had surgery in Australia to remove as much of the tumour as possible. They "zapped" the rest with chemotherapy and radiation, which finished two months ago.

So far doctors are happy with her progress and there have been no signs of the tumour reappearing following a scan in Brisbane earlier this week.

But rather than feel sorry for herself going through surgery, chemotherapy and losing the hair on the right side of her head, Louise has turned her focus to raising awareness and money for cancer research.

She set out to raise $6000 for the Newro Foundation for the Bridge to Brisbane run on September 7, but has already passed $8000.

"It was surreal. It's something you never expect to happen to you," Louise said.

"I've had amazing support from my family and friends, Tom and my girls have been my pillar of strength.

"If any positive can come from this tumour ... me inspiring people, that's something that I can take from this rather than dwell on, 'oh I've got a brain tumour'.

"I was one of the lucky ones because it was diagnosed low grade and slow growing. But unfortunately little kids and adults die regularly from these tumours."

McVerry teamed up with Ben Mowen and Stephen Moore while playing for the Reds, but believed his Australian career was over when he found his niche in the Japanese competition.

"My objective to come home was to settle life down, get Lou comfortable," McVerry said. "Then the Brumbies came out of the blue, I couldn't say no. It's been a whirlwind."

Louise said: "Things happen for a reason, we've come home and now this has happened for the Brumbies. Tom deserves this chance.

"And if we can help raise awareness for brain tumours, that would be the most important thing to me."

Donate to Louise McVerry's Bridge to Brisbane run and the Newro Foundation

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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
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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
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Round 4
Sun, 29 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 55 vs SCO 6 Report Stats
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Round 5
Sun, 02 NovTimes shown AEDT
BAR 36 vs AUS 40 Report Stats
USA 6 vs NZL 74 Report Stats
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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
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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
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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
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Round 9
Sun, 30 NovTimes shown AEDT
ENG 26 vs AUS 17 Report Stats
WAL 12 vs RSA 6 Report Stats
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