Cape Town - Sean McMahon’s approach to rugby doesn’t really lend itself
to injury recovery and the backrow is raring to return to action against
France in Paris on Saturday.
The 22-year-old is known for his intensity at training,
striking fear into the hearts of many team-mates when it comes to full contact
sessions, so a comeback from an ankle injury hasn’t been easy.
McMahon injured his ankle in Australia’s match against South
Africa in Pretoria close to two months ago now and was on the verge of a return
against Scotland, before the Wallabies opted to play it safe with his recovery
for one more week.
“Training on your own sucks, really bad,” he told the
Australian Rugby Union's official website.
“Rehab’s boring, you keep running in a straight line but
going hard at training I did that last week and really put the ankle to the
test and I came out the other end on top. Going to get into it again this week
and if the opportunity over the weekend comes I’ll be looking forward to that.”
McMahon has to try and force his way back into a backrow
that seems to have become even more difficult to crack since his injury, with
the emergence of Lopeti Timani at number eight.
Wallabies coach Michael Cheika said McMahon’s return added
another element to a department that can now be made up a number of ways.
“He came close to looking at selection but I just felt he
was a little bit away and he’ll definitely be 100% fit and if chosen, ready to
go this weekend, put his hand up in what’s becoming a pretty competitive back
row and lots of different configurations so we’ll see how we put it all
together,” explained Cheika.
If McMahon is picked this weekend, he could be one of a
swathe of changes.
Eight new additions to the team for the next two weeks, in
Australia’s seven Barbarians players and Jono Lance, have only added more
intrigue to the mix.
The man most likely to make his way into the side would
seemingly be Luke Morahan, who narrowly missed out on the initial 23-man squad,
after two standout performances for the Baa-Baas.
“It’s been pretty clear that we’ve been interested in Luke
from the start of the year,” added Cheika.
“He hasn’t got himself a start as yet, he had one game off
the finishers and I’m sure he’s eager. When I asked him about the possibility
of going to Baabaas and then coming here, he was very keen on that idea because
I think he’s still very hungry to play for Australia."
Hooker James Hanson faces a critical week in his comeback
from a broken jaw, still at least a week away from returning to play.
“The more realistic target for James, and why we’ve kept
him, he’d have to be ready to play the Thursday game next week (against the
French Barbarians) if we want to see him again on tour, otherwise we’ll make
some changes there,” said Cheika.
“He has to be comfortable to play with that [jaw], the
medics reckon he’ll be fine, but I want him to be comfortable. He’s had an
operation a few weeks ago in the face so he’s got to be comfortable getting
back into that, and he’ll start that program this week in earnest.”