One Percenters: World Cup ball in McMahon's court, says Cheika

by Sam Phillips and Beth Newman

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has sent a reminder to Japan-based Sean McMahon that he's a wanted man in Australian rugby but they won't be doing any more chasing.

Speaking about Australia's backrow depth this week, Cheika slipped McMahon's name in among the players he considered as contenders, though he admitted he "wasn't sure what he'd be doing" in 2019.

McMahon signed a deal with Japanese powerhouse Suntory at the end of last season, locking himself in until 2020 and appearing to end his World Cup chances.

However, with the Japanese Top League suspended for a year with the Rugby World Cup in Japan next year, there is still a slight possibility the flanker could return.

He'd have to play Super Rugby to eligible for the Wallabies.

Asked if he'd spoken to McMahon about the World Cup, Cheika said it was completely up to McMahon whether he wanted to put himself in World Cup contention.

“We’ve been really clear with Sean about what we’d like, the ball is in his court," he said.

Cheika has long been a big fan of the 24-year-old and McMahon was one of the Wallabies' best in Tests in 2017, with more game time in David Pocock's absence, before heading to Japan.

Though not a big guy, McMahon's power running is uncannily effective and has been missed this year.

Super W staff taking shape

The Super W season isn't too far away and two franchises this week announced their coaching set-ups.

The Melbourne Rebels women will retain Alana Thomas for the 2019 season, with Aaron Clalister and Nick Piva-Giblett her assistants.

Former Royals defence coach Adam Butt will take the reins in Canberra for 2019, with assistants Tevita Suilangapo and Dave Anable joining him.

Celtic Manor a piece of golfing history

The Wallabies had a different week in Wales this week, staying most of the week in Celtic Manor almost half an hour away from Cardiff itself.

It's a venue some keen golf fans might recognise - the resort played host to the 2010 Ryder Cup.

A European team that included Rory McIlroy for the first time regained the cup that year from the USA, with Tiger Woods among the Americans.

Women's rugby well and truly on World Rugby agenda

The 2023 Women's Rugby World Cup hosting rights will be awarded this week but that is just the culmination of days of World Rugby meetings.

Big players from all around the world have been in the UK consulting over the future of women's rugby and plotting out the international calendar.

This has already been a landmark year for women's internationals and there are whispers that the Test calendar is set for a big financial injection.

At an Oceania level, women's rugby was given a special moment in Suva as part of the Oceania Sevens.

Team captains at the tournament were presented with garlands as part of a ceremony designed to show Oceania's commitment to an #EqualPLayingField.

Eight women's teams played in the tournament this year, a record number that included the first ever Nauru women's team.

Referees and coaches break bread in London

 World Rugby's top referees and top coaches had a meeting in London this week. Photo: World RugbyOn the subject of international meetings, this week saw all of the top tier countries coaches catch up with the world's best referees.

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika didn't make it to the meeting last year but he made the trip north in March for a similar gathering pre-Six Nations.

The meeting, which is a biannual occasion, came amid a host of refereeing reviews in the Autumn internationals.

World Rugby is currently undergoing a TMO trial with referees taking charge.

There has been some questions over the timing of the meetings, coming after the first week of November Tests was played because they are not part of the international window, which only runs for three weekends in November.

Beale nabs new namesake

It's not uncommon for football ovals and stands to be named after athletes but Kurtley Beale was handed a slightly different honour this year.

Beale was one of a handful of athletes who had a school house named after him at Sydney high school Ropes Crossing.

Test cricketer Usman Khawaja, Olympic kayaker Jess Fox and Sydney Swifts netballer Paige Hadley were the others given a schooling namesake.

Pocock's name twin

David Pocock met his name twin in Wales. Photo: Instagram/DavidpocockEver wished there was more than one David Pocock? Well, your prayers have been answered...kind of.

Pocock posted a pic on Instagram this week with his name twin - a worker at their Newport hotel, also named David Pocock. 

What are the odds of that? Well, we did a quick search and apparently there are roughly just 40 David Pococks in the UK out of a population of 66 million.