Brumbies rookies James Dargaville, left, and Blake Enever, right, made their starting debut last weekend

ACT Brumbies rookie James Dargaville can’t shake the tag of being Pat McCabe’s clone.

His teammates yell “pass it Patty” when he touches the ball at training, they even quip that the pair from Sydney’s northern beaches dress the same.

But retired Australian Wallabies winger McCabe says Dargaville has “a few more strings to the bow” and is set to forge his own Super Rugby identity.

Dargaville makes his starting debut against South Africa’s Free State Cheetahs at Canberra Stadium on Saturday.

“I guess there are some similarities between us,” says McCabe, who retired prematurely because of chronic neck injuries. “I think he offers more than just being a hard worker, to pigeon-hole him as a grafter isn’t doing him justice

“He’s come in like I did from club footy in Sydney with not a lot of expectation around him and he’s taken it with both hands.

“I think he’ll probably develop a few more strings to the bow than I had, that might give him a bit more career longevity than I had.

“He’s been awesome so far, I don’t think he’s like me. He’s making his own way and has his own style, he’s going to be a great player for the Brumbies.”

Dargaville, 22, grew up surfing and sailing in Sydney and can’t escape comparisons to McCabe.

Both played for Warringah. Dargaville is studying engineering, McCabe is completing a commerce-law degree.

Like McCabe, Dargaville prides himself on his backline versatility and putting his body on the line.

“I guess there are a few similarities on paper,” Dargaville said.

“I feel I can get the best involvements by running hard and tackling hard. That’s the best way I can bring myself into a game, and if that’s similar to Pat McCabe then I guess we are similar in that way.”

Dargaville was a flanker only a few years ago before switching to the backs at Sydney University. He stood out in the inaugural National Rugby Championships for the Sydney Stars, the Brumbies swooping to give him a chance in Canberra.

“The goal posts keep moving quickly. If you said when I first came down that I’d be starting in round eight, I would have said that’s unlikely,” Dargaville said.

“But I got my debut in round one and a few games … things have shifted. It’s hard to set goals when they change so quickly.”

Fellow rookie Blake Enever will also get a chance in the starting team against the Cheetahs, stepping into the second row to replace Rory Arnold.

Enever cut his teeth in Queensland working with Wallabies locks James Horwill and Rob Simmons before taking a chance in Canberra.

“I didn’t know what to expect coming here, getting a start is a dream come true and I’m looking forward to the chance,” Enever said.

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