Benedict Chanakira took the opportunity to chat to Melbourne Rebels and Australia rugby star Scott Higginbotham.
The big number 8 will be moving to Japan at the end of the Super Rugby season and we will get to hear what he expects from the Asian move,the Lions style of rugby and Schalk Burger!
The Rebels have had a mixed start to the season and remain in contention for a playoff spot. What would be a good season?
We have had a sort of up and down start for the season and obviously it took us three home games to get our first win of the season but you know a positive out of that is we got our first win in New Zealand.
This was a great achievement for the club. As for our position target in the season, for us as a team we know we sort of there or there about. We have some great players, great new signings and great blokes that have come on.
We think its best for us that we take it week by week and one game at a time without setting a benchmark.
Australia has had a tough two years internationally. What do you think are your World Cup chances?
Look, I think the chances are good, it was a bit tough I suppose with the green and gold last year, definitely in the Spring tour.
There were definitely some improvements in the Rugby Championship as opposed to the year before but there definitely were some disappointing losses on there.
The Wallabies are in a tough pool facing England the host nation, Wales, Fiji and a wildcard side and it will be tough to make it through to the quarter finals!
You move to the NEC Green Rockets (Japan) at the end of the season. What do you expect during your time there?
I think its going to be fantastic. The cultural change is something I am really looking forward to. Playing in a team were only two foreigners are allowed on the field at once and the language barrier when communicating are among some of the challenges I am really looking forward to.
It will be a different experience from playing with Australians all the time!
Do you think with the game established as professional; nations that don’t pick players that play outside their countries, including Australia must pick all the players available to them?
I think for Australia its not a bad time to start looking at that especially with the players heading overseas particularly this year.
I think it would be smart for Australia, when you look at the sides that play other sports like soccer, basketball to mention a few that pick all of their available players. Just because you are playing in Australia doesn’t mean that’s the only competition that is there.
The beauty of playing rugby is that there are leagues in France, Italy, Japan and all over the UK. Its fantastic to get the opportunities to play overseas, the life experiences there and that must not limit the opportunity to play for your country.
If you were to pick one South African Super Rugby side to play for which one would it be and why?
I’ve always admired the way the Lions play and mostly their defense. I think their scramble defense is second to none, their attack is just free flowing and they play what’s in front of them and I respect that style of game.
Their captain Warren Whiteley is a fantastic player and someone I would love to have a run beside.
Who is the toughest opponent you have faced?
I think one of the toughest players that I have ever had to watch play and had the opportunity to play against is Schalk Burger.
Him as a person, a player, what I have experienced meeting him just makes him an outstanding human being. He has absolutely no regard for anybody when on the field but when he comes off the mindset shifts and he is a fantastic bloke. He is a great opponent.
Thank you Scott!