Backrower Scott Higginbotham may miss the entire Wallaby spring tour after copping a two-match suspension for kneeing and head-butting All Blacks skipper Mark McCaw during last Saturday’s international at Suncorp.
The big Queenslander can’t seem to tell the difference between playing with acceptable mongrel and unacceptable dirty behaviour.
Higginbotham has form, such as April last year when he deliberately impeded Drew Mitchell’s path which left the Waratah screaming in agony on the ground with a badly broken ankle.
As it sits, Higginbotham will definitely miss the France and England games, but coach Robbie Deans said two weeks ago any player who can’t play in all of the tour games won’t be selected.
Deans was referring to injured players, but Higginbotham has widened that base.
And he was damn lucky to only cop two games, so blatant were his actions.
It begs the question as to what Higginbotham was thinking at the time?
These days there are so many television cameras covering rep rugby, any stupidity will be picked up and punished.
His stupidity was in keeping with the four penalties the Wallabies gave up to turn a 15-6 lead into an 18-15 deficit, and the no drop goal decision during 28 pick and go phases at 18-all that could have won the game for the Wallabies – a game they thoroughly deserved to win.
No wonder Deans looks five years older than last year.
He has, at last, got the Wallabies to believe in themselves and show the necessary passion and commitment, only to have moments of sheer lunacy to undo all the positive work.
There’s absolutely no reason why the Wallabies can’t beat France, England, Italy, and Wales on the coming tour. None whatsoever.
The fourth captain in a year, Nathan Sharpe, has sharpened up the pack, and Kurtley Beale has done the same with the backs. All Deans is missing is a halfback to give some half decent service.
Both Nick Phipps and Brett Sheehan are way short of the mark.
Will Genia on one leg is a far better proposition to give Beale the extra time and space he deserves.
But all up, there are many pluses for the Wallabies to end the year on a high note and be ready and waiting for the Lions next season.
Just keep the brain explosions out of the equation.