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McMeniman happy to play anywhere in the Wallabies



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Hugh McMeniman says that he is not bothered whether he plays in the back row or the second row on the Wallabies upcoming tour of Europe as he just wants to play.

Thanks to injuries to James Horwill and with Wycliff Palu, Dan Vickerman and Rocky Elsom all on the absentees’ list, McMeniman looks likely to get his wish and he should start for the Wallabies against the All Blacks in the tour-opening Bledisloe Cup match in Hong Kong on November the 1st.

With a number of their regular aggressive forwards missing in the pack McMeniman says he’s more than happy to serve as Australia’s forward enforcer, if that means that he get more game time.

“I like to play aggressively but within the rules,” he told AAP after Wallabies training on Tuesday in Sydney.

“You know, hard defence and that but I’d just really like to get that run-on spot.”

It’s not surprising that McMeniman is raring to go on this tour as he has had a wretched run with injury since being one of the rare shining lights on the Wallabies’ forgettable 2005 Spring Tour.

His 2006 End of year tour lasted less than 10 minutes when he was stretchered off with a neck injury in the opening mid-week games against the Ospreys in Swansea.

He came back and featured in the 2007 Rugby World Cup in France without breaking down but in this year’s Super 14 he was wiped out in round two when he broke his leg.

He came back from that injury to earn a place in the Wallabies team but so far he has only managed to start one of his five Tests in 2008 and that is why he is looking for more chances in the starting line up.

Right now he says he is feeling as fresh as any time in his stop-start career and that he is eager for more of a centre-stage role.

“Training’s been really, really good,” he said.

“My body’s actually staying together, I’m keeping weight on … hopefully I can just make the side because it’s been hard for me, and for the other guys on the edges, to prove myself going on in the last 10 minutes.”

While blindside flanker remains his preferred position, McMeniman accepts Horwill’s foot injury, coupled with Dan Vickerman taking some time off in Europe, he is more likely now to be pushed into the second row.

“I’ve definitely thought about that, but I don’t care where I play,” he said.

“I know how to play both positions, so I really don’t mind.”

The Wallabies play the All Blacks first on tour, then they play Italy in Padova, England at Twickenham, France in Paris and Wales in Cardiff.

The tour ends on December the 3rd when they play a Barbarians team featuring former Wallaby captain George Gregan at Wembley.

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