Qantas Wallabies Spring Tourist and former Australian Sevens captain Pat McCutcheon is heading home to Narromine in the central west of NSW on Monday, after being forced to reschedule his Qantas Wallabies Towns visit due to injury.
McCutcheon remains sidelined after sustaining an injury to his right ankle in the dying stages of the NSW Waratahs 20-15 victory over the Western Force at the Sydney Football Stadium two weeks ago.
The 23-year-old flanker, who won a silver medal at the Delhi Commonwealth Games, will tomorrow visit his former schools - Narromine Public and Narromine High - to talk students about his experiences growing up in a small town with a population of just 3,500 and the journey he’s been on in representative Rugby which hit a new high when he was selected in Qantas Wallabies coach Robbie Deans’ end of year squad which toured Asia, the UK and Europe.
After the formalities are over, McCutcheon will hold a coaching session for the students.
In the main street, over 20 Narromine businesses have been busy decorating their shopfronts in green and gold, with Test tickets and a signed jersey up for grabs when McCutcheon joins Mayor Bill McAnally to judge the best-dressed business competition in Dandeloo St.
Next the Waratahs backrower will lend his on-field experience to running training sessions with junior and seniors at the Narromine Gorillas Rugby Club.
McCutcheon said, despite being on crutches, he was pleased to reschedule his trip home and spend the weekend in Narromine.
“Even though I won’t be able to run around with the kids as planned, I’m really looking forward to heading back to my old school and rugby club,” McCutcheon said.
“The main street looks great and it’s surreal to see all the effort everyone has gone to, it’s going to be tough trying decide the winner.”
Qantas Wallabies Towns, which will see about 15 players head back to where they grew up, is designed to encourage local communities to get behind their home-grown stars prior to the 2011 Rugby season which kicks off with a Test against Samoa in July before the Wallabies embark on their quest to win back the Bledisloe Cup, the Tri Nations and the World Cup.
McCutcheon is the sixth of about 15 Wallabies players who will head home over the next three months.
Skipper Rocky Elsom kicked off the campaign in April with a visit to Tewantin Public School near Noosa and halfback Luke Burgess received a hero’s welcome when he visited Maitland last month.
Player appearances are set to stretch along the east coast with more events to be announced in NSW, Queensland, the ACT and Victoria.
Hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau will appear in Granville on 8 June and props Ben Alexander and Benn Robinson will team up for a visit to Dural on 15 June.
Special thanks to our Partners Qantas, Lexus, Sportscraft and Skins for their support across the Qantas Wallabies Towns visits.