Morgan Turinui can’t see how the ongoing ARU Super Rugby saga wouldn’t be a decisive factor in Sean McMahon potentially leaving Australian rugby for Japan.
The Australian reported Monday that McMahon is not happy with the offer the ARU has tabled and is weighing up whether a two-year stint in Japan may be a more attractive option.
Melbourne’s uncertain future isn’t understood to be a major part of McMahon’s thinking but Turinui said there were plenty of other Rebels players and staff that found themselves in a similar situation.
“The big theme there is not the individual case of Sean - there are players and staff at the Rebels, players and staff at the Force that are being offered jobs elsewhere,” Turinui said.
“If one of them came to me and asked if I should take it, how can I in good conscious say “no, we will definitely be here?”Turinui makes a very fair point but the fact that he believes Rebels players have already signed elsewhere is an enormous concern.
If that is the case, even if the Rebels do survive, an inability to retain their players could cripple them in the years to come.
“I would expect that some players have already signed,” Turinui said.
“Out of respect for their teammates and out of respect for the fact that we are playing games, they’re probably not telling people.
“I know blokes have received offers and turned them down, I received an offer to go overseas and coach and I turned it down because i believe what has been said - that we are safe and that we are going to be here next year.
“The staff are the ones I feel for as well - I know I’m okay but I know that some staff are in the same situations as players and none of their contracts have been guaranteed.”McMahon made a powerful return to rugby with a 40 minute cameo against the Reds and he has been earmarked for the Wallaby back row in June should he get through Melbourne’s next three starts without any qualms.
But if he was to leave, it would be a disaster for the ARU.
Players that are past their best Wallabies days and are set on chasing the big dollars European and Japanese clubs can offer are a completely different proposition to a 22-year-old star that has the potential to play in Wallaby gold for another decade.
Players with McMahon’s potential simply don’t roll off the Australian rugby production line every year.
“It must be hard for him to be sitting back, not playing and seeing these things unfold - I can’t see how it wouldn’t be a factor,” Turinui said of the Rebels' influence in McMahon’s decision.
“Having less than perfect certainty about the club that gave him his opportunity, the club that backed him all the way, the club that got him to the Wallabies, on the back of his own hard work and talent, the club that supported him all the way through.
"It certainly wouldn’t have helped."