Hard-edged flanker Sean McMahon has confirmed he has signed with the Sunwolves for the 2019 Super Rugby season, and effectively closed the last door on a World Cup berth by saying he wants to stay with Suntory as well.
RUGBY.com.au revealed last week McMahon had overlooked offers from Australian Super Rugby franchises to sign a one-year contract with the Sunwolves. The 24-year-old confirmed that deal to Kyodo News on Saturday but revealed it is still dependant on a medical, due to a foot injury he is carrying.
McMahon left Australia to play in the Top League at the end of 2017 but a competition hiatus in Japan 2019, to accommodate the Rugby World Cup, opened the possibility for Japanese-based Aussies to return home for a crack at making the Wallabies squad for the World Cup.
Wallabies coach Michael Cheika wants McMahon to be in the mix but while the hard-running flanker elected to get back into Super Rugby, he wants to do it for the Japanese side.
"It was a tough decision but I love being here in Japan and the opportunity was there and I just went with it," McMahon told Kyodo’s Rich Freeman after Suntory progressed to the Top League semis with a 28-26 win over Kubota.
Sean McMahon tells me his #Sunwolves contract is dependent on passing a medical assessment.— Rich Freeman (@FreemanrugbyJPN) December 1, 2018
Played 57 minutes today and scored a try in his 1st #TopLeague game since Sept. 7.#SuperRugby #rugbyjp #rugbyunited https://t.co/0SoauSm8qf
McMahon had not played since September due to a “Lisfranc” foot injury, and he said it may still be an obstacle to playing for the Sunwolves.
"My foot still needs a bit of work to get back to the level where I want to be playing at," he told Kyodo.
The last remaining option that would allow McMahon to play at the World Cup for the Wallabies would be to sign, at some point prior, with an Australian rugby side for the 2020-21 seasons.
But the 26-cap flanker also appeared to confirm the speculation he intended to re-sign with Suntory instead.
"I would love to continue on here especially with Suntory. It's a great side, the staff, the facilities, the way we play. It's a great place to be playing footy and I've been loving it,” McMahon told Kyodo.
"There's a lot of young talent that I enjoy playing with and I am trying to teach them what I have learnt from my playing experiences."