In his own words, Wallabies bolter Sean McMahon didn’t travel all the way to England to hold tackling pads – he’s at the Rugby World Cup to make an impact.
The brash youngster is seemingly on a hiding to nothing as the World Cup back-up to two of the finest No.7s on the planet – Michael Hooper and David Pocock.
Coach Michael Cheika went slightly against the grain in picking both brilliant openside flankers to start Australia’s World Cup opener on Wednesday against Fiji.
Finding room for a third? It seems impossible.
But for a 21-year-old who has made a habit of causing surprises during his brief career, you can’t rule anything out.
Last year, McMahon was forced to cancel holiday plans after his shock inclusion on the Spring Tour, and his selection in Australia’s 31-man World Cup squad raised a few eyebrows as well.
But he forced Cheika’s hand with his ferocious displays in training. In short, the coach felt he couldn’t leave the fiery young buck out.
And now that he’s here, McMahon isn’t going to sit around and quietly wait for things to come his way.
“I didn’t come over here to hold a pad,” he said.
“I’m here to do whatever I can for this team.
“This is a long tournament and you never know what is going to happen.
“I’m not going to be holding a pad – I’m going to give it everything I can.”
Being stuck behind the terrific, young pairing of Hooper and Pocock could be dispiriting for a rising star like McMahon.
It’s encouraged him to work harder on the skilled side of his game, including his work in lineouts, which would aid his claims for a call-up at blindside flanker – which is where he made his Test debut, but is also the position held by rugged No.6 Scott Fardy.
Not to be deterred, McMahon has been leaving his mark at training – with teammates quickly working out that there’s no joy to come from running at him.
“I’m going into training sessions going 100 per cent trying to work my way into that first kind of role,” said McMahon, who will be given a starting role in Sunday’s game against Uruguay.
“Being behind such great players like Hoops and Poey, you’ve got to step up and, at the moment, my job there is on the training paddock.
“I train the way I do every day, always doing whatever I can to push the boys and push myself to another level.
“Being able to learn from players such as Hooper and Poey as a young player, it’s only going to develop me for further games.
“I’ll be getting a run against Uruguay and I’ll do what I do every game – that’s going out there and giving it 110 per cent.”