Wallabies abroad: Back row rivals to go head-to-head

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

They were competing for Wallabies spots in 2016 and now David Pocock and Sean McMahon will face off in Japan.

The backrowers will go head-to-head in Tokyo on Saturday in the Japanese Top League final, with Pocock's Panasonic looking for a perfect season.

Panasonic scraped into the final after a tough semi final against Toyota Verblitz 17-11, while Suntory blitzed Yamaha 49-7. 

The Wild Knights and Sungoliath have played once this season, with Panasonic inflicting Suntory's only defeat of the past two seasons in that clash.

Sean McMahon made his Top League debut early on the weekend. Photo: SuntoryBoth powerhouses of the Top League have intimidating records, having played off in the final last season, with Suntory taking out the 2017 title and ending Panasonic's run of three consecutive championships.

For Pocock, the final will be his last match in Japan before returning to the Brumbies, while McMahon's two-season Japanese stint started earlier than expected with Suntory.

They'll be far from the only Aussies in the competition decider, with Matt Giteau and Berrick Barnes the playmakers for Suntory and Panasonic, respectively.

Daniel Heenan will be at lock for Panasonic, with Digby Ioane coming off the bench for the Wild Knights.

Former Brumbies backrower Jordan Smiler will come off the bench for Suntory, along with ex-Reds rising star Campbell Magnay.