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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 0vs FJI 0 05:00Twic
TGA 0vs GEO 0 21:00Kholm
IRE 0vs CAN 0 23:30MilS
Sun, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs JPN 0 01:45Brig
FRA 0vs ITA 0 05:00Twic
SAM 0vs USA 0 21:00Brig
WAL 0vs URU 0 23:30MilS
Mon, 21 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs ARG 0 01:45Wemb
Wed, 23 SepTimes shown AEST
SCO 0vs JPN 0 23:30Kholm
Thu, 24 SepTimes shown AEST
AUS 0vs FJI 0 01:45MilS
FRA 0vs ROM 0 05:00The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs NAM 0 05:00The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
ARG 0vs GEO 0 01:45Kholm
ITA 0vs CAN 0 23:30Ella
Sun, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs SAM 0 01:45Villa
ENG 0vs WAL 0 05:00Twic
AUS 0vs URU 0 21:00Villa
SCO 0vs USA 0 23:30Ella
Mon, 28 SepTimes shown AEST
IRE 0vs ROM 0 01:45Wemb
Wed, 30 SepTimes shown AEST
TGA 0vs NAM 0 01:45Sand
Fri, 02 OctTimes shown AEST
WAL 0vs FJI 0 01:45MilS
FRA 0vs CAN 0 05:00stadium:mk
Sat, 03 OctTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs GEO 0 05:00MilS
SAM 0vs JPN 0 23:30stadium:mk
Sun, 04 OctTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs SCO 0 01:45St James' Park
ENG 0vs AUS 0 06:00Twic
Mon, 05 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 0vs TGA 0 00:30KPS
IRE 0vs ITA 0 02:45The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Wed, 07 OctTimes shown AEDT
CAN 0vs ROM 0 02:45KPS
FJI 0vs URU 0 06:00stadium:mk
Thu, 08 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 0vs USA 0 02:45The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
NAM 0vs GEO 0 06:00Sand
Sat, 10 OctTimes shown AEDT
NZL 0vs TGA 0 06:00St James' Park
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 22:00KPS
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
WinB 0vs RUpA 0 02:00Twic
WinC 0vs RUpD 0 06:00MilS
WinD 0vs RUpC 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
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
France 0 0 0 0 0 0
New Zealand 0 0 0 0 0 0
Canada 0 0 0 0 0 0
Tonga 0 0 0 0 0 0
Japan 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Romania 0 0 0 0 0 0
Argentina 0 0 0 0 0 0
England 0 0 0 0 0 0
Georgia 0 0 0 0 0 0
Scotland 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Australia 0 0 0 0 0 0
USA 0 0 0 0 0 0
Italy 0 0 0 0 0 0
Ireland 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Fiji 0 0 0 0 0 0
Samoa 0 0 0 0 0 0
Namibia 0 0 0 0 0 0
South Africa 0 0 0 0 0 0
Wales 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
 

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