Waratahs hang onto McCutcheon for now - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Waratahs hang onto McCutcheon for now

By Ed Jackson 16/05/2010 12:33:10 PM Comments (0)

Young Waratahs backrower Pat McCutcheon had his bags packed and was ready to kiss his Super 14 dream goodbye before a late reprieve from international Sevens duty on Saturday.

And Waratahs coach Chris Hickey believes the Australian Rugby Union's decision to let McCutcheon travel to South Africa with his NSW teammates rather than compete in a Sevens tournament on the other side of the world is the right one.

"Pat has put a couple of outstanding performances across the park for the past two games and he's been quite an important part of our backrow that's allowed us to play the way we have," Hickey told reporters on Sunday.

"At the end of the day it's probably a victory for common sense that he was given the opportunity to play in a Super 14 final."

The Australian Sevens skipper was seemingly set to miss the Super 14 finals because he was contracted to lead his country in the IRB World Sevens tournaments in London and Edinburgh.

But a late release from the ARU on Saturday had the 22-year-old suddenly having to alter his plans.

"Go back 24 hours, my mind was I'm heading to the UK to play Sevens in Edinburgh," he told AAP.

"I had my Sevens bag packed with all my kit and I was waiting for the cab at my house when I got the phone call.

"I was excited to head to the UK. Playing in the Sevens is not an opportunity that comes around all the time and to be able to captain that side, I really love it and enjoy it and I'm looking forward to the Commonwealth Games when I'm back in the team.

"On the flipside of things, the opportunity to play in a Super 14 finals series with the Waratahs doesn't come around too often. To have that opportunity, I'm very excited.

"I just have to acknowledge the work the ARU and the Waratahs have done in communicating and thank the ARU for giving me that release."

And now that he's heading to South Africa with his NSW teammates, McCutcheon firmly believes they're a chance of securing the state's first Super rugby title despite having to achieve the task so far from home.

He says the team's dismal loss to the Highlanders in New Zealand last month had proven to be a blessing in disguise going into the semi-finals.

"I think we've developed as a side in the last two or three weeks," he said.

"We had a letdown when we lost to the Highlanders and probably should've won that game.

"Since then there's been a great change in the mental attitude going into every game, training sessions, whatnot. It's lifted our intensity and results are starting to show out there on the field.

"Last weekend was like a quarter-final for us, we had to win it or we were out. I think the boys are starting to step up to the mark."

McCutcheon and the Waratahs will spend the week in camp in Durban before taking on the Stormers in Cape Town early Sunday morning for a spot in the Super 14 final.

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2024 AAP

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