Rebels keen on Reds’ Higginbotham
The Melbourne Rebels see Queensland’s Scott Higginbotham as the ideal replacement for France-bound star Gareth Delve but say they’ve yet to make him an offer.
Wallaby Higginbotham has been linked to the Rebels, who are on the search for backrowers following Welshman Delve’s decision to leave the Super Rugby competition after the season and play for French club Toulon.
Higginbotham, who has played 11 Tests, has the ability to play both blindside flanker and No.8 and again showed his value on Sunday with a strong performance in the Reds’ 42-27 win to topple the Chiefs.
“He (Higginbotham) would have to be player of interest to us if he was available,” Melbourne chief executive Steve Boland said.
“We’ve had no formal talks about Scott Higginbotham at this stage.”
The athletic Higginbotham would be an excellent replacement for No.8 Delve, who has been one of the Rebels’ best in their two seasons and served as interim captain while Stirling Mortlock was sidelined.
Boland said the Rebels still had six to eight positions that they need to fill for next season, and hoped to have their roster finalised before they head to South Africa for two Super Rugby matches in early July.
Skipper Mortlock, 34, is still to make a decision on his playing future, while in-form veteran utility back Mark Gerrard is another off contract.
Boland said flanker Michael Lipman, who was one of the stars in their upset win over the Crusaders, may still be offered a new deal.
“We told a number of the players we’d be having a look over the next three to four weeks … and Michael’s certainly a player we’re still really interested in,” he said.
Boland said there was no truth in a rumour that flanker Jarrod Saffy’s neck injury could see him unable to resume his rugby career.
“I sat next to Jarrod at the Crusaders game and he’s got some scans he’s going to undertake in the next eight weeks, but the prognosis is really good,” Boland said.
He’s really confident he’ll be able to get back to training by October-November.”© AAP 2013
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