McCabe ready to step up for Wallabies
Pat McCabe has answered the call from Wallabies coach Robbie Deans to add more dimensions to his game and says he’s ready to step up should Wales try to shut down Australia’s playmakers in their second rugby Test in Melbourne.
The Six Nations champions have made clear their intent to put the brakes on Australia’s game-breaking halfback Will Genia and five-eighth Berrick Barnes at Etihad Stadium on Saturday night.
Inside centre McCabe was known for his hard-running non-passing style but has evolved into a much more dynamic player.
“Last year, I played a fairly limited game in the Wallabies,” McCabe said.
“I’ve definitely been working hard on a bit more passing and a bit more calling and helping out with ball play a bit more in terms of communication.
“Robbie’s always keen for us to keep developing our game, evolving them and improving them so he was certainly keen for me to pass and kick a bit more.”
He credited his Brumbies coach Jake White and the club’s backs coach, former Wallabies great Stephen Larkham, with helping him add more strings to his bow.
Should Wales succeed in shutting down Australia’s halves, McCabe – whose second-half try helped Australia clinch victory in the first Test – said he would use the opportunity to insert himself even more in the game.
“I guess if they tighten up in that area, then there’s space somewhere else,” he said.
“That will be mine and Rob Horne’s role to communicate that to Berrick and see what options we take there.”
The 24-year-old, who played wing and fullback before last year’s conversion to the No.12 jersey, said he was feeling far more settled in the role.
But not settled enough to feel like it’s his own.
“I’d love to but I think I’ve got a fair way to go before it’s my own but I’m growing,” McCabe said.
He said the Wallabies expected Wales to play a more expansive game on Saturday night as they attempted to level the series after the 27-19 loss at Suncorp Stadium.
“It was something they did in patches last game and were pretty successful with.
“They might throw it around a bit more but, if we’re effective at the breakdown and in our first-up tackles, that shouldn’t be too much of an issue.”
The Wallabies will have their final training session at Etihad Stadium on Friday morning and hope to give Horne (head) and prop Sekope Kepu (arm) the all-clear to take their place in the line-up.© AAP 2013
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