Melbourne Rebels backrower Sean McMahon and NSW Waratahs winger Rob Horne have signed new two-year contract extensions with Australian Rugby through until the end of 2017.
The new deals mean both players will remain in Australia Rugby for the next three seasons, a major boost for the Rebels and Waratahs ahead of the 2015 Asteron Life Super Rugby season kicking off on February 13.
20-year-old McMahon experienced a breakthrough 2014 campaign and was recognised at the John Eales Medal awards evening when he walked away with three pieces of silverware. This included Australian Under 20s Player of the Year; the Buildcorp National Rugby Championship Player of the Series; and the Super Rugby Rookie of the Year.
His efforts earned him a place on the end-of-season Spring Tour, and following a strong individual performance in the team’s opening and uncapped clash against the Barbarians, made his Test debut for Australia the following week against Wales in Cardiff.
To add to his impressive 2014 season, McMahon also joined the Australian Rugby Sevens side and helped them win a Bronze Medal at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
For McMahon, staying at the Rebels was an easy decision.
“Being down here in Melbourne, and around the guys in this squad, is something I want to continue,” he said. “I can see the future of the Rebels getting better, and in the next few years we will continue to build towards an eventual premiership under this coaching staff; I want to be a part of that.
“The way I have always worked is that I let my manager do the deal and I just play the footy, so I said to him I wanted to stay here and let’s make it happen. I love it down here and being part of this group, and now I can focus on playing with this decision already made.”
Horne, 25, has chosen to continue his notable career in Australia and with the Waratahs, a province he initially debuted for at just 18 years of age in his first year out of school.
His re-signing comes following a memorable 2014 season where he played a major role in the Waratahs’ historic maiden Super Rugby title, while he also earned 10 Test caps for Australia, taking his career tally to 25.
NSW Waratahs coach Michael Cheika welcomed Horne’s decision to remain with NSW Waratahs and Australian rugby for another two years.
“Rob’s been an invaluable asset to the Waratahs over the last two years since I’ve had the pleasure of coaching him,” said Cheika.
“The next two years of his career here will see him become a real leader within our squad. We are really pleased that he will continue playing his rugby in the sky blue jersey.”
Having initially debuted for the Qantas Wallabies in 2010, the versatile Horne will bring plenty of experience to what is an important year for Australian Rugby, having already featured in a Rugby World Cup in New Zealand in 2011 and also in the 2013 British & Irish Lions Series in Australia.
Province: Melbourne Rebels
Test Caps: 3
Test Debut: 2014 v Wales, Cardiff
Province: NSW Waratahs
Test Caps: 25
Test Points: 20