Brumbies centre Pat McCabe believes he can again return from a broken neck and wants to play in a warm-up match later this month.
Brumbies centre Pat McCabe is confident he can again return from a broken neck and wants to play in a warm-up match for the Canberra-based outfit later this month.
The 25-year-old, who has broken his neck twice in 14 months, only returned to contact exercises when the Brumbies resumed pre-season training two weeks ago.
And although he faces a more physical examination in training, he wants to play in the Brumbies' first trial against the Highlanders in Queenstown, New Zealand, on January 31.
Brumbies coach Stephen Larkham is set to use McCabe as Christian Lealiifano's replacement in the vacant inside-centre position, with Lealiifano expected to be sidelined with an ankle injury until Round Five.
Although McCabe's injury has prevented him from making contact, it has allowed him to focus on his ball skills in the pre-season.
McCabe said it was still too early to contemplate how he would fit into the team when Lealiifano returned, but he is focused on trying to play at inside centre against the Reds in Round One at Canberra Stadium on February 22.
''The proof will be in how I go in the trials,'' he told the Canberra Times.
''In that game situation there's a bit more pressure on you, but at this stage I'm feeling really comfortable and feeling a lot more confident with that side of things [ball playing].''