Sean McMahon is a competitive beast but when he was selected for the World Cup, the “Mad Dog” thought he would mainly be unleashed on the training field.
Training alongside world class open sides Michael Hooper and David Pocock, McMahon hoped to learn as much as possible from the pair.
“I came into this tournament knowing that I needed to learn from these players because they’re world class players,” he said.
“(I’m) just learning their techniques and what they’re doing and just trying to add that to my game and building that experience.”
Hooper and Pocock have proven their complementary skills this World Cup and McMahon has been able to draw on Hooper’s speed and Pocock’s breakdown play.
“Probably from Hoops (I’ve learned) running lines off the 10 and set piece play,” he said.
“With Poey, just trying to watch what he does in the breakdown because he’s shown he’s the best in the world at that and little things like that that I can add to my game.”
As the youngest player in the squad is drawing off the experience of those around him, with three centurions in their 31-man squad.
A start against Uruguay saw McMahon turn in a man of the match performance and then he was given a second run-on spot after Michael Hooper was suspended for the Wallabies’ final pool game.
He has earned praise for the energy he brings to the field, a ferocious competitor with a hunger to win.
“I thought coming into this tournament I’d probably be focused a lot on the training,” he said.
“I did get a game against Uruguay and then because Hoops did get suspended I got to play one of the more elite sides, Wales and that was a great opportunity.
“I tried to take it with both hands and have a real crack.
“I’m just thankful to have had the opportunity and played a few games.”
When Pocock missed the quarter-final against Scotland, McMahon took a spot on the bench and though he didn’t make it on, he rode all of the emotions of the evening.
Wallabies coach Michael Cheika is optimistic of Pocock’s fitness ahead of the semi-final and if that is the case it would be likely for McCalman to shift back to the bench, if recent selections are anything to go by.
If McMahon is given a berth in Sunday’s match day 23, he’s not really sure how he would react.
“Geez, I’d be a bit speechless,” he said.
“It’d be a great opportunity. Not many people do get that opportunity and I’d be pretty speechless at that time if I did get the chance.
“We’re in the back end of the tournament, there’s something like 11 days left so heading into this semi final I think there’s a lot of excitement in the camp and we have to work hard on focusing on ourselves as a team and preparing for this weekend.”