Shock as Wallabies turn to Mann-Rea

Date published: September 4 2014

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Brumbies reserve hooker Josh Mann-Rea could be amongst the replacements when Australia host South Africa in Perth.

Brumbies reserve hooker Josh Mann-Rea could be amongst the replacements when Australia host South Africa in Perth on Saturday.

The 33-year-old, who was the Canberra-based franchise's third-choice number two at the start of the season, is on standby for a shock call-up while Wallabies replacement Saia Fainga'a awaits the birth of his child.

If Fainga'a is forced to fly home to be with his girlfriend, while she gives birth, Mann-Rea will come in to the Wallabies squad as James Hanson's back-up.

Australia's hooker crisis has reached epic proportions with first-choice captain Stephen Moore, Tatafu Polota-Nau and Nathan Charles all sidelined through injury.

Moore believes his Brumbies understudy has the ability to to be a success at Test level if he gets an opportunity.

“These things come around when you least expect it,” he told The Canberra Times.

“If he gets a chance he certainly won't let anyone down. It's well documented he's seen this as a second chance in his rugby career and there's no one in our squad who works harder than him.

“His form for the Brumbies [at the end of the year] was a really good indicator of his capability.

“The hooker injuries are unbelievable, it's always the way that when you get one, you get a couple.”

Mann-Rea was in a similar position at the Brumbies this year when he finished their Super Rugby campaign as the starting hooker after season-ending injuries to Moore (knee) and Siliva Siliva (knee and ankle).

“You remember that sort of character in your team-mates, he pushed through because he knew there was no one else, and everyone respected that,” added Moore.

“That sort of effort shows someone like Ewen (McKenzie) that (Mann-Rea's) got the resolve to operate in the Test environment, he won't let anyone down.”

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