James Mortimer 19.Nov.2012Getty Images
Higginbotham, who linked up with the Melbourne Rebels after switching from the Queensland Reds this season, has been in heavy training with his new Investec Super Rugby franchise, based on an informal request from the Wallabies that he remain match fit in case of a eleventh hour callup.
Ironically Higginbotham's opportunity comes at the expense of close friend and lock Rob Simmons, who gained an eight week suspension for a lifting tackle in the Wallabies loss to France.
With the new Rebels recruit serving out his two week suspension, he will essentially walk straight back into the Wallabies starting team against Italy this Sunday (NZT).
The abrasive flanker, considered the enforcer of the Australian pack, says while he might not go for a player off the ball again, he didn't regret getting in McCaw's face.
"I was obviously pretty filthy that I wasn't coming on tour (but) I don't regret anything I did. It's just football I suppose," he said.
"(However) It really did point out where you can get to and where to draw the line. It's a physical game but I suppose it taught me that that stuff, the off the ball stuff, you can leave out of it I guess."