Wallabies hero McCabe feared the worst - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Wallabies hero McCabe feared the worst

Darren Walton 15/08/2011 03:46:18 PM Comments (0)

Wallabies hero Pat McCabe feared the worst when he should have been savouring the finest moment of his rugby career in Durban on Saturday night.

McCabe's maiden Test try, the only five-pointer of a gripping Test match, ultimately proved the difference in Australia's gritty 14-9 win over South Africa at Kings Park.

But instead of basking in the glory of playing a key role in the Wallabies' first back-to-back Test victory in the Republic in 48 years, McCabe was sweating over a lifting tackle on Boks centre Jaque Fourie.

The tackle didn't look good live, drew a penalty and had the raucous home crowd jeering Australia's five-Test rookie.

SANZAR officials took what seemed to McCabe an age to clear the 23-year-old.

Any suspension would have ruled McCabe out of Saturday week's Bledisloe Cup and Tri Nations return clash with the All Blacks in Brisbane, not exactly a good time to hand a teammate your Test jumper on the eve of the Rugby World Cup.

"I could hear the crowd wasn't exactly thrilled with it when they were replaying it on the big screen," McCabe said.

"I think they were having a look at it after the game, or the citing commissioner was. I'm not 100 per cent sure how that works, so I was pretty nervous.

"To potentially miss what is hopefully going to be a Tri Nations decider would have been pretty disappointing.

"Dirty play is not really a part of my game. I've not been (yellow) carded or I'm sure I've never even been penalised before.

"So that couple of hours just after the game was hard to enjoy because I had that in the back of my mind.

"Yeah, it was a huge relief."

Despite being on edge, McCabe said the feeling in the jubilant Wallabies dressing room was one he will never forget.

"It was unreal," he said.

"They're the moments you play for - the 10 or 15 minutes just after the game when you know you've given it everything you've got and everyone is satisfied with the result.

"I was a little bit nervous about the citing but to share those moments with the guys in a place where teams historically don't win very often is a really good feeling."

To be fair, McCabe admitted he "didn't have to do too much" for his first Test try, finishing off some nice lead-up work from James O'Connor with a 20-metre stroll to the line.

But it was still special.

"Rabs (O'Connor) put a bit of a shimmy on and a couple of them might have fallen over and I just had to walk it in," McCabe said.

"But it was a good feeling."

After making his international debut off the bench against Italy last year in Florence, McCabe has had a dream month, relegating 92-Test star Matt Giteau to club rugby and starting all four Wallabies matches this winter.

"It's pretty crazy still," he said.

"I can't quite believe it a lot of the time."

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