McCabe ready for his return to Super Rugby
January 6, 2014
McCabe suffered his second broken neck during a Test against the British & Irish Lions in June © Getty Images
Brumbies back Pat McCabe has revealed that he is ready for his return to rugby, but says he will need to "take some hits" on his healed broken neck to get rid of any doubts in the lead-up to his second return to Super Rugby.
McCabe broke his neck twice in 14 months, but he is adamant his horror injuries have left him mentally stronger and ready to return to match action in February - with the first pre-season training session of 2014 to hold particular significance after doctors cleared him for full-contact training for the first time since June.
The 21-Test Wallabies centre is adamant he won't change his body-breaking style of play, despite fears that his career was over when he twice cracked the C1 vertebra in his neck, telling Rugby Heaven "the main thing for me is getting out there and taking some hits".
"It's about getting used to that and get to the point where it's not in mind at all and that [the contact] is just natural again," he said. "I think the first couple of hits, my neck will be something I'm thinking about. But when the games start you don't have time to worry about that."
McCabe's career has been punctuated for the past 14 months by neck braces and physio visits, the player stating he would not return if he were risking permanent damage. But Australian Rugby Union medical staff cleared him just before Christmas for his return to full contact training, and now he is targeting a full return in the trial match against the Highlanders on January 29 to get match fitness.
The 25-year-old first broke his neck on the Wallabies' end-of-year tour of Europe in 2012; he suffered a hamstring and knee injury on his return before breaking his neck again in the first Test against the British & Irish Lions in June.
McCabe said he would not rush back, and would use his head brace twice a week to strengthen the muscles in his neck.
''It was a relief to get the final tick to play again and it was nice to get it before the Christmas break so that I knew I could get straight into it [on Monday],'' McCabe said. "Having done it before, it made the time in the neck brace a lot easier. This time I think I'm a lot better prepared. I've had a good bulk of time to get myself ready. Last year I rushed to get back on the field.''
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
Communication error please reload the page.
The frustrations of coaching were never more evident than after Scotland slumped to a last-minute defeat by Italy at Murrayfield on Saturday
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger welcomed a positive response to midweek European misery as his team beat Everton 2-0 at Emirates Stadium
Rafael Nadal lifted his first title in nearly nine months Sunday after defeating Juan Monaco 6-4 6-1 at the Argentina Open
Jose Mourinho was overjoyed to satisfy his hunger for silverware with a first trophy of his second spell as Chelsea manager following a 2-0 Capital One Cup final defeat of Tottenham at Wembley
Connacht gave their bid to finish in the top half of the Guinness PRO12 a big lift with a 53-5 bonus-point win over Benetton Treviso
Despite James O'Connor's impressive return to Super Rugby for the Reds, Will Genia impressed the most to claim Australian Man of the Round honours
Greg Growden assesses the impact of Stephen Larkham's coaching on the Brumbies, and how he can boost the Wallabies for the Rugby World Cup
Ireland coach Joe Schmidt won the tactical battle and set his team on course for a shot at the Grand Slam. Tom Hamilton reports from Dublin
With the World Cup only a few months away, the last thing France needed was doubts over the future of their coach, writes Huw Richards
They came to Murrayfield looking to put down a marker, but Scotland were sent home with their tails between their legs, writes Tristan Barclay
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers says Daniel Sturridge's fitness must be managed properly so that the striker "doesn't break"
Ander Herrera wishes he could play every game for Manchester United but manager Louis van Gaal's "philosophy" will ultimately restrict his match time
Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea has dismissed speculation he has fallen out with manager Louis van Gaal
Louis van Gaal admits Manchester United have fallen behind Chelsea and Manchester City this season because they have lacked a prolific goalscorer
Referee Roger East has told the body responsible for officiating standards in English football it was not a case of mistaken identity when he sent off Sunderland's Wes Brown at Manchester United
The PGA Tour swings into Los Angeles for the Northern Trust Open and the season steps up a gear with some notable names coming out of winter hibernation
An honest England side have been searching for the heir to Jason Robinson for nearly a decade. Step forward Jonathan Joseph, writes Simon Barnes
We rewind to 2003 when Real Madrid brought a park attitude to their Champions League clash with Manchester United and played out a 4-3 thriller
Chris Eubank Jr tells Inside Boxing of his hopes of a rematch with Billy Joe Saunders - and a dream showdown with the formidable Gennady Golovkin
Piers Morgan has declared himself "hurt" over former Arsenal goalkeeper Bob Wilson's claims that he is not an authentic fan of the club