McMahon keeping 2019 World Cup door ajar

The Rugby Championship
by Sam Phillips

Sean McMahon is keeping the door open for a potential return at the 2019 World Cup.

The 23-year-old is heading to Japan on a two-year deal, beginning in the 2018-19 season, seemingly ruling him out of the 2019 tournament.

His departure will be a huge blow for Australian rugby, as the incumbent No. 8 was a long term part of coach Michael Cheika’s plans prior to the shock news he was heading overseas.

But ahead of Australia’s clash with Argentina, McMahon was coy when asked about a possible cameo should Cheika come calling in 2019.

“You never know, we’ll see what happens when the time comes,” McMahon said.

“For now I’m just focused on what’s ahead this weekend and that’s a strong Argentinian team.”

McMahon has been one of Australia’s best through the Rugby Championship and he remains focused on improving the team’s output, on the whole, before he departs.

“It’s about making the most of my moments,” he said.

“Every opportunity that I’m getting at the moment I take with both hands and I’m just trying to make sure that I do what I can in that gold jersey.

“I want to make sure that as a team we finish on a high, it’s not a personal thing, but as a team so next year, whoever comes into that position takes it on and continues to build.”

David Pocock, currently on sabbatical, is likely to fill the hole McMahon leaves in the backrow but for now, McMahon is enjoying some added freedom on field in working alongside Wallabies skipper Michael Hooper.

“Right now I am just trying to bring a bit of consistency to my game,” McMahon said.

“That’s all about back-to-back, week in week out, working with Hoops - who’s such an unreal player - and trying to work with him and bring a combination that works for both of us.

“Currently we have got a little bit of free reign to move around the field and it’s been working.”

Sunday's Mendoza Test will be McMahon’s last in Argentina for some time and he warned of the raucous atmosphere that will await the men in gold.

“They’re very well known for their soccer crowds but they get an unreal crowd here for their rugby and the support is unreal to see.

“It’s so loud and you need to come together as a team when you’re here, otherwise the crowd can get in your head.”

The Wallabies take on the Pumas in Mendoza on Sunday morning, kicking off at 9:40am AEDT, LIVE on FOX SPORTS.