Northern Beaches to welcome home their latest Wallaby

by staff

Qantas Wallabies rising star Pat McCabe is heading home to Sydney’s Northern Beaches on Saturday to muster local support ahead of the looming Castrol Edge Test season.

McCabe, who became Wallaby No.847 with an appearance off the bench against Italy in November last year, is the latest Test player to return to where he grew up as part of the Australian Rugby Union’s Qantas Wallabies Towns initiative.

The 23-year-old will spend the day before coach Robbie Deans announces his 40-man squad at his former junior Rugby club, the Collaroy Cougars, meeting Rugby players, fans and friends.

Warringah Mayor Michael Regan will also be on hand to welcome the Northern Beaches’ newest Wallaby back home.

The activities get underway at Griffith Park in Collaroy at 11am, with McCabe’s best friend and fellow Warringah Rat Ed Doyle to host the official section of the event.

He’ll interview McCabe about his time with the Brumbies, on what it was growing up in the area and his hopes for the Rugby World Cup, before opening up for questions.

The pair will then have a game of touch with the kids, run mini skills sessions and enjoy a sausage sizzle for lunch.

Australia’s 2010 Super Rugby Rookie of the Year says the activity-packed day should keep nerves at bay ahead of Sunday’s Castrol Edge Test season squad announcement.

“I’m proud to call the Northern Beaches home and I’m really looking forward to visiting the Collaroy Cougars and having a game of Walla Rugby with the kids,” McCabe said.

“Rugby enjoys great support in the area, junior numbers are really strong and I’m just hoping to give something back.

“My Wallaby Towns visit is the day before the 40 is named… so it’ll be good to keep busy ahead of the squad announcement.”

McCabe spent his formative years at St Mary’s Primary School in Manly with twin brother Luke and sister Bernadette, before attending St Aloysius on the lower North Shore.

The utility back honed his Rugby skills with the Cougars and has since spent many a Saturday running around at Rat Park with the Warringah club.

Deans will announce his 40-man Test squad in Brisbane on Sunday, with McCabe hoping to add a Test appearance on home soil to his credit when the Qantas Wallabies open their 2011 campaign against Samoa at ANZ Stadium in Sydney on Sunday 17 July.

Tickets are still available for the July 17 clash and start from just $25 for an adult, while a family of five gain entry for just $50.

The Test is preceded by Rugby’s Ecumenical Service at 10am and the Sunday Telegraph’s Family Fan Day at 11:30am in Cathy Freeman Park opposite ANZ Stadium.

Qantas Wallabies Towns is designed to encourage local communities to get behind their home-grown stars before the Wallabies embark on their quest to win back the Bledisloe Cup, the Tri Nations and the World Cup.

Fullback Kurtley Beale will visit Westfield Mt Druitt on July 15, winger Lachie Turner heads to Epping on 21 July and utility back Adam Ashley-Cooper visits the Central Coast on the same day.

Special thanks to ARU Partners Qantas, Lexus, Sportscraft and Skins for their support across the Qantas Wallabies Towns visits.