Rebels ready to rise to Test arena

The Melbourne Rebels feel they’ve got some backrow talent ready to take the next step up to the Wallabies.

Superstar flanker David is contracted to the Australian Rugby Union until the end of the year but is considering taking a year off to study overseas, while he has also been linked with a multi-million dollar offer to play club rugby in the UK.

With George Smith retired and the Reds’ Liam Gill heading to play in France at the end of this Super Rugby season, the next generation of No.7s may soon get a chance to join Michael Hooper in the Wallabies.

The toughness, work-rate and versatility of Rebels backrower Sean McMahon is already well known in the Test arena after Wallabies coach Michael Cheika liked what he saw.

But Melbourne coach Tony McGahan feels fellow backrowers Colby Fainga’a and Jordy Reid can also take the next step up.

Fainga’a, 24, is the younger brother of former Wallabies twins Anthony and Saia and is a former under 20 Australian captain.

The dread-locked Reid, also 24, is a fearless attacker.

“Colby was our player of the year last year and Jordy Reid really hit the scene,” McGahan said.

“Both of those guys want to be starting players in our side so we’re really lucky.”

Ahead of their opening round clash with the Western Force in Perth on Saturday night the Rebels are spoilt for choice in their backrow options.

As well as Fainga’a and Reid vying to play openside, they have McMahon at blindside and new recruit, former All Black Adam Thomson at No.8.

There are other options including veteran Scott Fuglistaller as well as Luke Jones and Lopeti Timani who can play there.

McMahon said the make-up of the second row would dictate the back-row.

“We think we’ve got some fantastic players in the backrow with a lot of versatility,” McMahon said.

“There are a lot of points of difference between the players and it’s going to be a very competitive situation there.”

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