McMahon to start against Springboks

The Rugby Championship
Matt Lewis Profile
by Matt Lewis

Sean McMahon has been promoted to the Wallabies starting side to face South Africa on Saturday. 

Head coach Michael Cheika has named McMahon to start at number 8 for the injured David Pocock who has been ruled out of the remainder of the Rugby Championship after breaking his hand against Argentina two weeks ago.

While not overly experienced at the back of the scrum at Super Rugby level, McMahon replaced Pocock for the final two Tests in Australia’s June series against England.

McMahon’s inclusion is the only change to the Wallabies starting team that defeated Argentina in Perth two weeks ago.

Naivalu has been a star for the Rebels over the last three years. Photo: Getty Images

In what has been a long time coming, Sefa Naivalu has been included on the extended bench for his potential Test debut, making him Wallaby number 900.  

Fijian-born Naivalu became eligible for the Wallabies to represent Australia on September 18 having played three years of Super Rugby with the Melbourne Rebels.

In other changes, Kane Douglas returns to the match day 23 on the bench having being dropped against Argentina, with Rory Arnold making way for him.

James Hanson will return to the Test arena for the first time in over a year, being named as Stephen Moore’s back-up after Tatafu Polota-Nau was ruled out of the two-week tour with a broken arm.

James Hanson played his last Test against the USA on September 5, 2015. Photo: ARU Media/Stu Walmsley

With McMahon’s promotion to the starting side, Scott Fardy has also been named on the extended bench in what will be his first Test since the second Bledisloe in Wellington.

The Wallabies currently sit second on the Rugby Championship ladder but head to Pretoria in search of their first ever victory at Loftus Versfeld, having lost all six matches at the ground.

The Wallabies play the Springboks at 1am Sunday AEST.

Wallabies team

1. Scott Sio

2. Stephen Moore (c)

3. Sekope Kepu

4. Adam Coleman

5. Rob Simmons

6. Dean Mumm

7. Michael Hooper

8. Sean McMahon

9. Will Genia

10. Quade Cooper

11. Reece Hodge

12. Bernard Foley

13. Samu Kerevi

14. Dane Haylett-Petty

15. Israel Folau


(One to be omitted)

16. James Hanson

17. James Slipper

18. Tom Robertson

19. Kane Douglas

20. Scott Fardy

21. Lopeti Timani

22. Nick Phipps

23. Tevita Kuridrani

24. Sefa Naivalu