McMahon on debut against Wales

2014-11-06 07:39
Michael Cheika (Getty Images)

Sydney - New Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has thrust 20-year-old backrower Sean McMahon into the Test side to take on Wales in Cardiff on Saturday.

The Australians kick off the serious business of the European tour with the same battle-hardened core that narrowly lost to the All Blacks three weeks ago with McMahon and Ben McCalman coming in for the injured Scott Higginbotham and Scott Fardy.

McMahon, Australian Under 20s player of the year, won selection on the back of a dynamic showing in last Saturday's entertaining 40-36 victory over the Barbarians at Twickenham.

"Going into the Barbarians match it was made clear that players had an opportunity to push their way into the Test team with a strong performance," Cheika said.

"Sean made the most of his opportunity and brought great work-rate and physicality to our game.

"This selection also recognises the outstanding year he has had at all levels of the game, and he thoroughly deserves the chance to debut for Australia."

McMahon is one of two uncapped players in the squad along with Western Force prop Tetera Faulkner grabbing a spot on an extended nine-man bench.

Faulkner, 26, who has worked his way up through Australia's representative age groups and picked up 29 Super Rugby caps for the Western Force, has the ability to play on both sides of the scrum.

One player will be omitted from the bench before game day but Cheika has powerful options including hooker James Hanson, props Faulkner and Ben Alexander, locks James Horwill and Will Skelton, backrower Matt Hodgson, scrumhalf Will Genia, flyhalf Quade Cooper and winger Rob Horne.

Cheika praised his men who face a tough tour after turbulent times on and off the field that saw Ewen McKenzie recently resign as coach.

"I've been really pleased with attitude and commitment of the team and by how they have embraced a new environment and way of doing things," he said.

"Everyone has worked really hard on preparing themselves in the best possible way, and we're all excited about the opportunity to represent Australia and give our absolute best on Saturday."

Australia, on a run of nine successive victories over Wales, play Tests against France, Ireland and England after the Millennium Stadium contest.


15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 George North, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Liam Williams, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Rhys Webb, 8 Toby Faletau, 7 Sam Warburton (captain), 6 Dan Lydiate, 5 Alun-Wyn Jones, 4 Jake Ball, 3 Samson Lee, 2 Richard Hibbard, 1 Paul James

Substitutes: 16 Scott Baldwin, 17 Gethin Jenkins, 18 Rhodri Jones, 19 Bradley Davies, 20 Justin Tipuric, 21 Mike Phillips, 22 Rhys Priestland, 23 Cory Allen

15 Israel Folau, 14 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Christian Leali'ifano, 11 Joe Tomane, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Ben McCalman, 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 6 Sean McMahon, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Sam Carter, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Saia Fainga'a, 1 James Slipper

Substitutes: 16 James Hanson, 17 Tetera Faulkner, 18 Ben Alexander, 19 James Horwill, 20 Will Skelton, 21 Matt Hodgson, 22 Will Genia, 23 Quade Cooper, 24 Rob Horne

Read more on:    wallabies  |  michael cheika  |  rugby

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