Belfast Telegraph

Monday 15 September 2014

Wallabies can cope without me - McCabe

Pat McCabe believes Australia will cope well in his injury absence

Injured Australia centre Pat McCabe is confident coach Robbie Deans has a suitable replacement for him after he was ruled out of the first month of the inaugural Rugby Championship.

A scan yesterday revealed McCabe has a stress fracture to his lower left leg and will be out for up to six weeks.

The 24-year-old is disappointed to be missing two Tests against New Zealand, but is expected to return for the match against South Africa in Perth on September 8.

"The Tests against the All Blacks are the ones you'd most like to be involved in," McCabe said.

"It would have been a huge challenge and one I was definitely looking forward to, but I think we've got a number of guys who can fill that spot extremely well and they'll do really well."

Adam Ashley-Cooper is a possible replacement. The 28-year-old Waratah has played across the back line and his experience could mean he is a favourite to fill the position.

"I think we've got half a back line who'd be willing and capable of playing inside centre," Ashley-Cooper said.

"History has shown that selection is always a mystery with Robbie Deans, so we'll have to wait until that week leading into the first game against the All Blacks to know who is actually playing at 12."

Another player putting up his hand is Ben Tapuai. The Reds centre has been involved in both of the Wallabies' training camps and is certainly in the mix for the role, but he too admitted it is difficult to guess who Deans will go with.

"You never know with Robbie who he's going to pick," Tapuai said.

"That's what these camps are here for - just to learn and get the detail right about our game plan against the All Blacks."

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