Tour omission frustrates Higginbotham

Last updated 19:15 29/10/2012
Higginbotham
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SIDELINED: Scott Higginbotham has been banned for two games for his hits on Richie McCaw.

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Suspended Wallaby backrower Scott Higginbotham says his omission from Australia's four-match European tour has been hard to swallow.

Higginbotham was banned for two games for kneeing and head-butting All Blacks skipper Richie McCaw in the Bledisloe Cup in Brisbane earlier this month.

The suspension effectively became four matches when he was left out of the Australian rugby squad that departs on Wednesday.

Coach Robbie Deans couldn't take a chance on including the  hard-running Higginbotham, who would only be available for the  final two Tests against Italy and Wales, with flanker David Pocock  only just returning from long-term injury.

The 26-year-old is putting his time on the sidelines to good use  by getting straight into the thick of the action with his new Super  Rugby team Melbourne.

The former Queensland Red was expected to be a spectator at the  Rebels' first pre-season training session but pulled on his boots.

''I find it hard to keep myself out of training most of the  time,'' he said.

''I had last week off and after everything that's happened it's  good to get out and run around and get your mind off other stuff.

''I copped the two-week penalty and, in that I also missed the  tour, it's hard to swallow but if you do the crime you do the time  and I guess I'm paying for it now.

''It feels like a double punishment but they have to cover all  their areas and in that they needed a No.8 to come on tour to back  up Cliffy (Palu).''

He said he was looking at the up-side of the ban, in that he  could integrate himself in the Melbourne set-up and pre-season  rather than arrive on the hop in January.

Standing 195cm and weighing 110kg, Higginbotham is no  light-weight but he was surprised by the size of the some of the  Melbourne players such as skipper Gareth Delve and locks Cadeyrn  Neville and Hugh Pyle.

''Blokes down here.. there are some big boys.

''Being with the Reds previously we were a small pack.

''We were a good team and we won the premiership with that pack  but there are a lot of solid boys (here) and a lot of stuff to look  forward to playing.''

Fellow Wallabies Kurtley Beale and Nick Phipps also pulled on  their training gear while injured Test backline star James O'Connor  completed the session on his troublesome hamstring.

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