Patrick Joseph McCabe
- 847Wallaby Number
To describe Pat McCabe as tough grossly understates the man. The talented ACT Brumbies’ centre more than defied the odds, and perhaps the Gods too, when he walked away from the game at 26 years of age despite having broken his neck on three separate occasions.
An Australian ‘A’ Schools representative out of Sydney’s St Aloysius’ College, McCabe was forbidden to play rugby by his mum until he was a teenager. Following his graduation McCabe joined the New South Wales Academy in 2006 where he won selection on their development tour of Europe.
Unfortunately he was cut by the Waratahs and then spent a year in club rugby with Warringah. It was with the Rats that he trained “like a man possessed” and that regime proved to be the springboard for McCabe’s professional career.
He signed for the Brumbies in 2009 and the following year made his Super Rugby debut against the Western Force. McCabe was then chosen on the 2010 Spring Tour and earned a Test debut against Italy in Firenze.
He was picked in the Australian squad for the 2011 Rugby World Cup and, despite obvious injury, tackled himself to a standstill in the quarter-final win over South Africa and again in the semi-final loss to New Zealand. McCabe paid the price for his selfless defensive effort with a subsequent shoulder reconstruction.
In 2014, following a third neck fracture in his previous seven Tests, McCabe made the gut-wrenching decision to retire from all forms of rugby.
Represented Australia ‘A’ Schools
Selected in the Australian squad for the fourth-annual IRB U19s World Championships in Ireland.
He was selected in the Australian Men’s Sevens team which went on to win a silver medal at the XIX Commonwealth Games in India but was ruled out with a twisted knee just a few weeks prior to the event. Named in the Spring Tour squad, McCabe won his first Test cap off the bench when he replaced Adam Ashley-Cooper at outside centre in the 32-14 victory over Italy in Florence.
McCabe made his run-on debut at inside centre in the 23-32 loss to Samoa in Sydney. He went on to win 10 Test caps, nine of which came as a starting No.12. McCabe scored his maiden Test try, the only five-pointer of a gripping international against South Africa, in Australia's hard-fought 14-9 victory at Kings Park.
McCabe won a further eight Test caps, all in the run-on XV at inside centre, before he suffered a premature end to the year due to a cervical fracture in his neck during the opening Test of the Spring Tour against France in Paris.
McCabe added just one cap to his resume, won in the 1st Test against The British & Irish Lions, before a second C1 fracture in as many internationals brought an abrupt end to his season.
McCabe earned his final four Test caps before scans confirmed he had again fractured his C1 vertebrae during the 2nd Test, 20-51 loss to New Zealand in Auckland.