SCOTS-born scrum-half Brendan McKibbin could make his debut for Australia in Wales this weekend after becoming the latest tour call-up.
McKibbin, who was linked with a move to Scotland, yesterday flew from Sydney as a replacement for the Brett Sheehan, who suffered an ankle injury in the Wallabies’ 22-19 win over Italy on Saturday, and is likely to start on the bench in Cardiff.
McKibbin was born in Irvine and spent his early life in Kilmarnock before his parents emigrated to Brisbane when he was three years old. He attended John Eales’ old school, Marist Brothers Ashgrove, and made his name as an openside flanker, representing Queensland at schools and under-19 levels.
However, as his peers caught up and overtook his 5ft 9in frame, he switched to scrum-half and won the most outstanding player in the Brisbane club leagues system, then repeated the feat in Sydney when he moved from the Queensland Reds, after four Super Rugby games, to the Waratahs.
He was known to the SRU as a Scottish-qualified player and Glasgow coach Sean Lineen tried to sign him as injury cover for the Warriors. Though that move foundered, he has not entirely ruled out returning to his roots. Asked about the potential for a move earlier this year, when there were rumours that the SRU were again talking to him, he said: “I’ve read it a couple of times that I’m going to Scotland. I was unaware of that. I’d love to stay here at the Waratahs. It’s a great club and I’m really enjoying it. But I’m not sure what I’m doing at the end of the year. I have a European passport and if I’m not wanted in Australia, I’ll have to look at other avenues.”
However, the Waratahs rate the 27-year-old highly, particularly after he pushed past South African Sarel Pretorious to leave his mark in this year’s Super Rugby as a goal-kicking scrum-half, scoring 17 points in his first start to seal a 34-30 win against the Sharks, and a Wallaby cap is now likely to ensure any thoughts of moving are left in the past.
Meawnhile, New Zealand forward Andrew Hore’s behaviour has been condemned as “an absolute disgrace” after a flashpoint which left lock Bradley Davies out of Wales’s game against Australia this weekend.
The second-minute incident left Davies with severe concussion and no chance of being involved against the Wallabies.
All Blacks hooker Hore must prepare for a disciplinary hearing this week that should result in a lengthy ban after being cited by match commissioner Mike Rafter. Wales assistant coach Rob Howley added to the criticism since Hore took the law into his own hands and floored Davies from behind. The former Wales captain said. “It was an absolute disgrace. He has been cited, and I am sure it won’t be taken too lightly. Situations and incidents like that have no place on the rugby field, and it had a huge impact on the game. It is not what the All Blacks do. They are a good enough team, anyway, so we are very, very surprised by the actions of the player.”