McCabe puts down Wallaby marker
McCabe puts down Wallaby markerSHARE
Pat McCabe scored a career first try double as the Brumbies downed the Blues 26-9 to stay top of the Australian conference in Super Rugby in Canberra on Friday.
The Brumbies scored three tries to nil – with Wallaby centre McCabe claiming two of them in a commanding victory over John Kirwan's Blues.
McCabe made several breaks and constantly dented the defensive line in his best performance since breaking his neck for the second time in June last year.
It was the first time the Brumbies had kept the Blues try-less in Super Rugby and it was the 11th straight away loss for the inconsistent Aucklanders.
While the Wallabies No.12 jumper was expected to be hotly contested between Matt Toomua, Christian Lealiifano and Waratahs playmaker Kurtley Beale this season, Director of Rugby Laurie Fisher said 26-year-old McCabe had now also staked his claim.
"I think he's definitely in Ewen [McKenzie's] sights," Fisher told a media gathering after the game.
"He'll be quite high in the thoughts of Wallabies selectors if he continues this form."
However McCabe said he hadn't yet spoken to Wallabies coach McKenzie and was just happy to hold his spot in the Brumbies' 23.
"If I can keep getting a game here, then things can happen down the line," he said.
"But for the most part I'm just worried about playing next week."
Fisher said it was satisfying to see his side execute the game plan so seamlessly.
"After last week where we weren't perfect, we got our planning right, we got our detail right and as a consequence of that we got our performance right," Fisher said.
"There's probably a lesson all round, we responded well, certainly I'm pleased with how we turned out. I thought it was an outstanding effort from the lads.
"It's what this team's been built on over the last few years: working together, scrapping together and making it work together. It was certainly evident in our performance.
"There's a lot of pride in the team, getting so close to the end and not letting in a try there was fantastic."
Captain Ben Mowen spoke about his team bouncing back from the loss to the Rebels the previous week.
"It was a great reaction after last week, we wanted to play with a lot of enthusiasm and passion and I thought we did that," Mowen said.
"When you can turn around a side like the Blues and try to put pressure on their set-piece, then it helps you get a foothold in the game… it was a really pleasing display."
Blues captain Jerome Kaino said his side wanted to carry on their momentum from last week's win over the Otago Highlanders and try to get an away win.
"The Brumbies were able to get their kicking game going in the first half and they suffocated us getting the ball," Kaino said.
"We have to address that [losing away] and the bye has come at the right time for us and we have a lot of work to do. We have another away game against the Hurricanes after the bye."