Higginbotham eyeing Wallaby recall

Date published: January 24 2017

Reds back-row Scott Higginbotham has revealed that he is still hopeful of winning a recall to Australia's Test side in 2017.

Higginbotham returned to the Brisbane-based franchise on Tuesday after his Japanese club, the NEC Green Rockets, played their final Top League match.

The 30-year-old played for the Reds between 2008 and 2012 before playing for the Melbourne Rebels from 2013 to 2015 when he moved to the NEC Green Rockets.

With David Pocock taking a break from the game for a year, a spot has become available in Australia's back row but Higginbotham said he is unsure whether he will be part of Wallabies coach Michael Cheika's plans this year.

"Who knows," he told AAP.

"You never say you've given it up. (But) like a lot of players – Liam Gill included, probably – you come to the understanding that it's out of your hands.

"I'll be playing football to the best of my ability and whatever happens from that happens. It's not my choice in the end."

Pocock played in all three back row positions in 2017 and Higginbotham, who has represented his country in 32 Tests, can expect stiff competition from Sean McMahon and Lopeti Timani, who also played at number eight for the Wallabies in 2016.

Having grown up on Australia's Gold Coast, Higginbotham was happy to be back in Queensland in familiar surroundings at Ballymore.

"I've always considered Queensland my home, I grew up here," he said.

"I decided that while I’m still able to play Rugby to the best of my ability I want to play in one of the top competitions." 

Higginbotham will hit the training paddock next week, joining former Reds team-mates Quade Cooper and Stephen Moore who also re-signed with the Reds for the 2017 season.

“I think it points out the uniqueness and feeling behind playing for Queensland that blokes want to come back,” he added.

“Quade is a fairly iconic Queensland player, a fantastic player and fantastic leader to have in this team. Guys like him, Stephen Moore, the Wallaby captain, you can’t fault the experience of the players that are coming back into the Queensland system.”

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