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McCabe, Rathbone start for Brumbies

Friday, May 30, 2014

Update: 11:00AM Jesse Mogg has been dropped and replaced at fullback by fellow Wallaby Pat McCabe for the Brumbies in Saturday's Super Rugby match against the Melbourne Rebels.

McCabe returns to the starting side along with retirement-bound winger Clyde Rathbone among four changes for the Canberra Stadium clash as the Brumbies look to inject more "hardness" after their winless two-match tour to South Africa.

Prop Ruan Smith will give Wallaby Ben Alexander a well-deserved rest on the bench, while backrow enforcer Fotu Auelua will also start, pushing Scott Fardy to lock and Leon Power back to the bench.

Utility McCabe has been a powerhouse for the Brumbies since recovering from his second broken neck, constantly breaking tackles and crossing the advantage line.

His form has not only earned him a Wallabies squad recall but has now squeezed the inconsistent Mogg to the bench for a must-win clash.

"We're certainly looking for some power carries from (McCabe and Rathbone), that's what they're good at," director of rugby Laurie Fisher said.

"(McCabe) is hard and straight. He's been fantastic and it's about finding space in the team for good players."

Fisher added that he expected three-Test Mogg to bounce back from his dropping, and would seek to rebuild his confidence in club rugby during the June Test break.

Former Wallaby Rathbone, who replaces unwell winger Robbie Coleman, has been plagued by injuries since starting for the Brumbies in last year's Super Rugby grand final.

While he's excited to be in the starting team for the first time this season, the 32-year-old said the 2014 rugby season would all but certainly be his last.

It follows a two-year comeback after he first retired in 2009.

"The more I think about it this is probably my last year in rugby and I want to make it a good one in these last few games," Rathbone said.

"This could be my last game for the Brumbies. I want to make sure I play well."

Brumbies: Pat McCabe, Henry Speight, Tevita Kuridrani, Christian Lealiifano, Clyde Rathbone, Matt Toomua, Nic White, Ben Mowen (c), Jarrad Butler, Fotu Auelua, Sam Carter, Scott Fardy, Ruan Smith, Stephen Moore, Scott Sio. Res: Josh Mann-Rea, Ben Alexander, JP Smith, Leon Power, Jordan Smiler, Michael Dowsett, Andrew Smith, Jesse Mogg.

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