The Wallabies’ best in their 62-point thrashing of Uruguay would in most cases have pencilled himself in for their vital England group match – and the big games which follow.
Unfortunately for Sean McMahon, who was a clear man of the match for his two tries and ferocious running in Sunday’s 65-3 trouncing, he’s long odds of suiting up at Twickenham on Saturday.
That should explain everything you need to know about the ferocity of the fight for the No.7 gold jersey.
But that is life in this Wallabies outfit – where coach Michael Cheika has admitted he’s been left with no choice but to start both Michael Hooper, his vice-captain, and David Pocock, the best on ground in Australia’s first-up win over Fiji.
Just as McMahon did against Uruguay, Pocock belted Fiji at the breakdown and finished with two tries to his name – justifying his selection at No.8.
Along with Hooper, he’s formed a workaholic combination that terrorises the opposition for 80 minutes.
Where does that leave McMahon – or Ben McCalman, who also bagged a pair of tries against Uruguay in a whole-hearted performance?
“It’s getting a bit ridiculous really because every man of the match is seven or eight,” Cheika joked.
McMahon, 21, forced his way onto the tour in part because of his enthusiasm and his insatiable attitude for hard work – he lifts the tempo of every training session and puts senior players on notice.
“Sean McMahon’s initial selection was for a certain reason and he’s certainly bringing that and he’s fulfilling his role within the team and when he gets his opportunity to play for Australia he needs to cherish that because not everyone gets that chance,” Cheika added.
“We’ve got some pretty influential players in those (backrow) positions, but as long as he’s there rattling their cage that will keep them honest and that will keep him honest as well going forward.
“I was very pleased and proud of his performance because he knows those guys are there and he’s just got to keep taking it to them.”
It leaves the Wallabies in an enviable position, argues the Wallabies’ captain for their victory over Uruguay.
“There’s some wonderful competition going on there and Sean was very good in the way he ran around the pitch and put his hand up,” Mumm said.
“We’re lucky to be in a situation where we’ve got players like those guys and (Pocock and Hooper) who are very influential with what they do on the field with their form.”
Being stuck behind not one – but two – world class openside flankers hasn’t dampened McMahon’s passion for the World Cup.
“It’s like dreams are becoming reality for me,” he said after his World Cup debut.
“Now to get to the World Cup and get a man-of-the-match performance in front of such a great crowd is unbelievable.”