Fiji Time: 12:00 PM on Wednesday 28 January

Fiji Times Logo

/ Front page / Sport

Reds rookie's long wait ends with McCaw

AAP
Friday, May 09, 2014

Update: 7:02PM Australian under-20 skipper Curtis Browning has waited patiently to mix it with Super Rugby's big boys - three seasons with the Queensland Reds without a run-on start.

But his patience will pay off on Sunday when he gets "down and dirty" with the biggest name there is - All Blacks skipper Richie McCaw.

A schoolboy prodigy and grandson of former Wallaby Dick Marks, Browning makes his starting debut opposing McCaw in a torrid back-row battle at Suncorp Stadium.

Far from being daunted, the 20-year-old is not only relishing the baptism of fire but also ruing that Crusaders captain and IRB world player of 2013, Kieran Read, won't also be there to increase the challenge.

"You want to test yourself against the best and Richie is one of them but it would have been good to have Read out there as well," Browning said.

Playing at virtually the same weight (109kg) as McCaw and Read, the 190cm flanker finally gets his run-on chance after five caps off the bench and an injury to blindside Ed Quirk.

Browning had three years in the Australian schoolboys side and then went on to play two seasons with the Australian under-20s, winning their player of the year award twice and leading them last year.

Despite the 13th-placed Reds' fall from grace this year, the young gun denied he'd been frustrated in failing to get the swift call-up many expected.

Even this week it was a tight call with coach Richard Graham thinking long and hard about moving Wallabies lock Rob Simmons to the back row to beef up his pack.

But Browning was rewarded for his aggression at the tackle and strong ball-running off the bench in the 35-21 loss to the Hurricanes.

"All forwards love the physicality, and I'm certainly no different there," he said.

"I love getting down and dirty and getting through the work."

The back-rower said McCaw's best asset was his ability to pick and choose when to pilfer at the breakdown.

"I feel he really nails it," Browning said. "He knows when to have a dig and when not to."

McCaw also felt he nailed it in the final minute of the corresponding match at Suncorp in 2011 - but referee Stu Dickinson disagreed back then, allowing Quade Cooper to kick the Reds to an epic 17-16 win.





Fiji Times Front Page Thumbnail

Kaila Front Page ThumbnailFiji Times & Kaila Frontpage PDF Downloads

Use the free Acrobat Reader to view.

Today's Most Read Stories

  1. PAC concern
  2. Dream come true for family
  3. Tragic end to tour
  4. Australia, Fiji to face each other again in Wellington
  5. Change affects Facebook
  6. Suspects in custody
  7. Keeping heads above water
  8. Have a dog licence
  9. Fiji rugby mourns Savai's loss
  10. Halai set to join Wasps next season

Top Stories this Week

  1. Opposition challenges PM to walk the talk Friday (23 Jan)
  2. Old market to turn into live fish shop Tuesday (27 Jan)
  3. Ten days time Thursday (22 Jan)
  4. PM's apology to Fiji Saturday (24 Jan)
  5. FRCA terminates officers Tuesday (27 Jan)
  6. Things you didn't know about Kuridrani Monday (26 Jan)
  7. Ba retains title Monday (26 Jan)
  8. New-look bus station plans Tuesday (27 Jan)
  9. Man charged for assaulting daughter Monday (26 Jan)
  10. Four in custody Tuesday (27 Jan)