Higginbotham looking forward to Reds reunion

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Scott Higginbotham will be reunited with a man whom he won a Super Rugby championship with on Saturday, but there’s not likely to be any friendly catch-ups with former mentor Matt Taylor before then.

Higginbotham has only played Scotland once - in the infamous Newcastle torrent and at the time he and Scotland defence coach Matt Taylor were still at Ballymore.

Both left the Reds at the end of that year, with Higginbotham moving to the Rebels, before a more recent Japan sting, and Taylor heading to Scotland and the Glasgow Warriors.

This time around Higginbotham’s former mentor will be strategising for his opponents, and trying to nullify the Reds backrower.

Higginbotham still has plenty of respect for Taylor and will be wary of a Scotland side that might just be looking for some World Cup revenge, falling one point short of a win in Murrayfield last year.

“From experience, I know how great a coach he is,” Higginbotham said.

“They've obviously used that.

“They've got some really good attacking players around the lineout and a good structure and they've always pushed the Australians and it was obviously a tough loss for them in the World Cup.

“I'm sure they're always looking to get a bit of revenge in that sense from that game.”

Matt Taylor in his time at Queensland. Photo: Getty ImagesTaylor has been in the Scotland rooms against the Wallabies and former Reds players a handful of times now, including that 2015 Rugby World Cup quarter-final, but this is the first time he’s seen Higginbotham as an opponent.

When he saw his former charge would be back in the Test mix, he was happy for Higginbotham, but wary of the threat he poses.

“I'm really pleased and excited for him because I think he's an exceptional player,” he said.

“He's got X-Factor and for a player like that, we're going to be on our ball.

“I think his mum's part Fijian so you can see maybe that's where the flair comes out in him.

“Personally, I think it's great for him, I'm really excited, happy for him and I'll look forward to catching up with him at the end of the game.”

The Wallabies take on Scotland on Saturday, kicking off at 3pm AEST LIVE on FOX SPORTS and via RUGBY.com.au. Buy tickets here.