In a season of missed opportunities Melbourne Rebels coach Tony McGahan is hoping that Sean McMahon is given one against England in next month’s Test series.
After briefly leading the Australian conference, the Rebels’ finals hopes hit a major hurdle with a 36-15 Super Rugby loss to the Chiefs that left them seven points off the NSW Waratahs’ lead and a tough road home.
Workhorse McMahon was again one of his sides biggest contributors at Waikato Stadium and McGahan hoped his 21-year-old back-rower would be given a chance to add to his six Test caps.
“We watch Sean closely at training every day and in the games and we think that he has to be in the Wallabies,” McGahan said.
McMahon is as good in attack as defence, ranked third in the competition for defenders beaten with 40.
He trails Chiefs fullback Damian McKenzie (52) and Reds centre Samu Kerevi (46) while star Wallabies back Israel Folau is the next-best Australian with 37.
Wallabies coach Michael Cheika is believed to be contemplating playing three No.7s at the same time against England with Waratahs gun and incumbent Michael Hooper at openside flanker, McMahon at blindside and Brumbies’ David Pocock at No.8.
Brumbies No.6 Scott Fardy has also been pressing his case with some impressive form as his side pushes for a finals berth.
A back-row of Hooper, McMahon and Pocock would mean the Wallabies would only have two recognised jumpers against a formidable England line-out.
But their pace and on-ball threat may make the risk worthwhile according to McGahan.
“It’s not an easy decision and there’s many factors that make up selecting a back five in Test rugby … you need a source of possession so how that works out is up to Michael but it would be hard to deny Sean on his form,” McGahan said.
“The other players in those positions are playing pretty well so you need to push them out with superior form and we feel that Sean has a very strong case.”