Updated: 08/28/2014 08:24 | By Agence France-Presse

Praise for retiring injured rugby union Wallaby McCabe

Australian rugby Thursday paid tribute to Wallaby Pat McCabe who has announced his retirement after fracturing his neck for a third time.

Praise for retiring injured rugby union Wallaby McCabe

A file photo of Australian Wallabies player Pat McCabe playing in Melbourne in June 2014. McCabe has retired from rugby after fracturing his neck for a third time. - by Mal Fairclough

McCabe, 26, suffered a third break to his C1 vertebrae while playing for the Wallabies in their 51-20 Bledisloe Cup loss to the All Blacks in Auckland last weekend.

The Australian Rugby Union and his ACT Brumbies club said Thursday they will assist McCabe in his transition from rugby to ensure he has continued support in the future.

"These are always difficult moments, but Pat has made the right decision in putting his future health and wellbeing ahead of any desire he may have to continue playing rugby," Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie said.

"Importantly, he gets to step away from rugby knowing the injury, after rehabilitation, won't have any long-term influence or impact on how he chooses to live his day-to-day life.

"He is one of the smartest and most dedicated individuals I have had the pleasure of coaching and, irrespective of what avenue he chooses to go down, I have no doubt he will be a success."

Brumbies coach and former Wallaby Stephen Larkham praised McCabe's courage.

"You want players like Patty, you want everyone of your team members to be a bit like Patty," Larkham said.

"You'd like them to be tough, both mentally and physically and there is no one braver than Patty, both in terms of injuries that he's gone through and the way that he plays the game."

McCabe, who played 24 times for the Wallabies, including at the 2011 World Cup, said he felt fortunate with his playing career.

"While my playing career has not ended the way I would have liked, I consider myself extremely fortunate," he said in a statement.

"Fortunate to have met and shared experiences with special players and coaches and fortunate to walk away from the game with life-changing friendships and memories.

"While the next chapter of my life is both exciting and terrifying in equal measure, I know that the lessons I have learnt in rugby will serve me well."

McCabe is currently completing a law degree. 

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