Neck fracture ends McCabe's career
Neck fracture ends McCabe's careerSHARE
Wallaby back Pat McCabe has retired from the game after fracturing his neck for a third time, his Brumbies coach Stephen Larkham said.
The 26-year-old suffered a jarring knock last Saturday in Australia's 20-51 loss to the All Blacks at Eden Park and Larkham said a meeting with a specialist on Tuesday had confirmed another fracture.
"[It's] very disappointing news, actually. He had a scan over in New Zealand and it was reported to have had a little fracture in his neck," Larkham told ABC Radio.
"He's since seen a specialist in Sydney and the specialist has confirmed it is a fracture in there, and that he strongly suggests never to play ever again.
"I think at this stage, Patty's made the decision that he's not going to play again."
The 26-year-old, who played on the wing against the All Blacks at Eden Park, had fought his way back to fitness after the two previous neck fractures and an excellent season with the Brumbies had earned him a Test recall.
McCabe first fractured his neck in November 2012 on the Wallabies European tour and suffered another neck injury in the 21-23 loss to the British and Irish Lions at Brisbane last year – which ruled him out for the season.
"The good thing is he's in a neck brace at the moment and will stay in that neck brace for the next couple of months and the neck should heal up fine, but [it's] devastating that he won't play rugby again," said Larkham.
McCabe has played 24 Tests for Australia.
McCabe won his first cap off the bench against Italy on Australia's 2010 November tour and played all but the last two of his 24 Tests at centre.
Widely regarded as one of the most decent men in Australian rugby, McCabe has combined his rugby career with studies for a law degree.
"He had a bit of a scare earlier in the year but overcame that and fought his way back into the Wallabies side and I thought things were on the up and up for him," Larkham said.
"So really devastating news for Patty and for his family but the good thing is that he's in a neck brace now and will remain in a neck brace for the next couple of months and the neck should heal up fine.
"But devastating that he won't play rugby again."