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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 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 Report Stats
Sun, 11 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAM 33vs SCO 36 Report Stats
AUS 15vs WAL 6 Report Stats
ENG 60vs URU 3 Stats
ARG 64vs NAM 19 Report Stats
Mon, 12 OctTimes shown AEDT
ITA 32vs ROM 22 Report Stats
FRA 9vs IRE 24 Report Stats
USA 18vs JPN 28 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sun, 18 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 23vs WAL 19 Stats
NZL 62vs FRA 13 Report Stats
IRE 20vs ARG 43 Report Stats
Mon, 19 OctTimes shown AEDT
AUS 35vs SCO 34 Stats
Sun, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 18vs NZL 20 Stats
Mon, 26 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 15vs AUS 29 Stats
Sat, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 24vs ARG 13 Stats
Sun, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
NZL 34vs AUS 17 Stats
View All Fixtures
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Australia 4 4 0 0 106 17
Wales 4 3 1 0 49 13
England 4 2 2 0 58 11
Fiji 4 1 3 0 -17 5
Uruguay 4 0 4 0 -196 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
South Africa 4 3 1 0 120 16
Scotland 4 3 1 0 43 14
Japan 4 3 1 0 -2 12
Samoa 4 1 3 0 -55 6
USA 4 0 4 0 -106 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
New Zealand 4 4 0 0 125 19
Argentina 4 3 1 0 109 15
Georgia 4 2 2 0 -70 8
Tonga 4 1 3 0 -60 6
Namibia 4 0 4 0 -104 1
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Ireland 4 4 0 0 99 18
France 4 3 1 0 57 14
Italy 4 2 2 0 -14 10
Romania 4 1 3 0 -69 4
Canada 4 0 4 0 -73 2
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