Higginbotham plays the numbers game

ANYONE who ever suspected Scott Higginbotham might actually be a dashing backline magician trapped in a hulking loose forward's body might be on to something. The thundering flanker laughs about his occasional cameo on the wing but the truth is, it's only half a joke as he strives to define his place in the Wallaby rotation.

In damaging form but parked behind Wallaby captain Rocky Elsom for his preferred number six jumper, Higginbotham's impressive versatility, as much as his destructive ball-running, shapes as one of his most attractive qualities as the World Cup looms.

And it's not just the 24-year-old's ability to cover six and eight that is helping Higginbotham establish himself as a key part of the Wallaby machine. Coach Robbie Deans threw him on the wing for the final 10 minutes against South Africa and the only thing that really looked out of the ordinary was his bulk.

He didn't mind the opportunity to free his head from the scrum but he hasn't planned on making a habit of it just yet, even if it is in his blood.

"I played a bit of wing when I was younger. My dad was a back and always wanted me to play in the backs. But your body changes. You're lucky in some of those aspects. Six is a great position, so is eight. With my body size, I don't really think I contribute that much into the backs at the moment," Higginbotham said.

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