October 30, 2012
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Higginbotham regrets missing European tour

Wallabies forward Scott Higginbotham said Monday he was finding it hard to deal with missing the team's European tour after being suspended for striking All Blacks captain Richie McCaw.

Higginbotham was dropped from the squad to face France, England, Italy, and Wales after being handed a two-match ban over the McCaw kneeing and head-butting incident in the Bledisloe Cup Test in Brisbane earlier this month.

It effectively means a four-match ban, with coach Robbie Deans saying he could not take a chance on including Higginbotham, who would only be available for the final two Tests against Italy and Wales.

The blindside flanker said it was tough to take.

"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," he told reporters.

"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 (Wycliff Palu)."

He said he was trying to look at the upside of the ban, with unexpected time to integrate himself in the set-up at his new Super Rugby team Melbourne Rebels, having moved from the Queensland Reds.

"Blokes down here, there are some big boys," he said.

"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."

Australia play France on November 10, ending their tour with a match against Wales on December 1.

AFP

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