Scott Higginbotham of the Rebels breaks through a tackle during the round 14 Super Rugby match between the Melbourne Rebels and the Stormers at AAMI Park in Melbourne, Friday, May 17, 2013.
Scott Higginbotham of the Rebels breaks through a tackle during the round 14 Super Rugby match between the Melbourne Rebels and the Stormers at AAMI Park in Melbourne, Friday, May 17, 2013. MARK DADSWELL

Injured Wallaby tipped to return to field at Byron sevens

INJURED Wallabies flanker Scott Higginbotham could return to action at the annual Byron Bay rugby union sevens carnival this weekend.

Higginbotham is a regular at the event and has entered to play in one of the sides again this year.

He was a spectator with former teammate Radike Samo last year and now sponsors a team.

The 27-year-old plays for the Melbourne Rebels Super Rugby franchise and hasn't played since a shoulder reconstruction in June.

The Byron Bay sevens would likely be his only hit-out if he were to make a return to the Wallabies for a tour game against England at Twickenham on November 2.

Australian rugby union sevens player Shannon Walker and other ARU contracted and academy players have competed at the carnival.

Current Australian sevens coach Michael O'Connor is usually at the event running an eye over the competition.

It will be the 24th Byron Bay carnival, with 32 men's team and 16 women's team entered this year.

Teams from New Zealand and Fiji have entered, with a side coming from New Caledonia for the first time.

About $12,000 prizemoney is up for grabs, with Sydney Uni and Sunnybank among the teams expected to perform well.

It started as a small carnival in 1989 and has grown into one of Australia's best-known sevens tournament.

Far North Coast Rugby Union team Ballina has entered a side for the first time in a number of years.

Wollongbar-Alstonville and Lennox Head usually enter teams, while other clubs from interstate use the weekend as an end-of-season trip.

Entry is free.

The men's final is set down for 3pm on Sunday.


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