McMahon to make Wallaby Test debut

Date published: November 6 2014

Blindside flanker Sean McMahon will make his Test debut when the Wallabies play Wales at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday.

Blindside flanker Sean McMahon will make his Test debut when the Wallabies play Wales at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday.

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has remained consistent with the starting XV chosen to play the All Blacks three weeks ago, with the inclusion of McMahon and Ben McCalman at number eight for the injured Scott Fardy and Scott Higginbotham respectively.

The selection of McMahon – who made his Wallaby debut against the Barbarians at Twickenham last weekend – caps off a remarkable year for the 20-year-old Melbourne Rebels backrower in which he was also awarded the Super Rookie of the Year; NRC Player of the Year and Australian U20 Player of the Year.

“Going into the Barbarians match it was made clear that players had an opportunity to push their way into the Test team with a strong performance,” said Cheika.

“Sean made the most of his opportunity and brought great work-rate and physicality to our game.

“This selection also recognises the outstanding year he has had at all levels of the game, and he thoroughly deserves the chance to debut for Australia.”

McMahon is one of two uncapped players chosen in the team, with Western Force prop Tetera Faulkner earning a spot on an extended nine-man bench.

Faulkner, 26, is a former Australian Schoolboys, U19 and U20 representative who has earned 29 Super Rugby caps since debuting for the Western Force in 2011, and has the unique ability to be able to play on both sides of the scrum.

Cheika has again chosen an extended bench which includes hooker James Hanson; props Faulkner and Ben Alexander; locks James Horwill and Will Skelton; backrower Matt Hodgson; scrum-half Will Genia; fly-half Quade Cooper; and winger Rob Horne.

One player will be omitted from the bench in the lead-up to gameday.

Cheika said the team was looking forward to their first Test match of the Spring Tour.

“I’ve been really pleased with attitude and commitment of the team and by how they have embraced a new environment and way of doing things,” he added.

“Everyone has worked really hard on preparing themselves in the best possible way, and we’re all excited about the opportunity to represent Australia and give our absolute best on Saturday.”

The match is Australia’s second of their five-game Spring Tour, and will be followed by matches against France, Ireland and England.

Australia: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Christian Leali’ifano, 11 Joe Tomane, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Ben McCalman, 7 Michael Hooper (c), 6 Sean McMahon, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Sam Carter, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Saia Fainga’a, 1 James Slipper.
Replacements: 16 James Hanson, 17 Tetera Faulkner, 18 Ben Alexander, 19 James Horwill, 20 Will Skelton, 21 Matt Hodgson, 22 Will Genia, 23 Quade Cooper, 24 Rob Horne.

Date: Saturday, November 8
Kick-off: 14:30 local (GMT)
Venue: Millennium Stadium, Cardiff
Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)
Assistant Referees: Jaco Peyper (South Africa), JP Doyle (England)
TMO: Graham Hughes (England)