Ex-Rebels and Wallaby backrower Sean McMahon seems determined to see through his decision to leave Australian Rugby, with the star loose forward turning down multiple offers to play Super Rugby in Australia in favour of joining the Japanese-based Sunwolves franchise.
According to a report by Rugby.com.au, the 24-year-old turned his back on offers from the Reds, Rebels, and the Force before making his decision.
Looks like we’ll see Sean McMahon back in Australia next season!
In Sunwolves colours…
— NRC Australia (@NRC_Australia) November 28, 2018
Cannot understand this decision from Sean McMahon. The @qantaswallabies are in crisis and need all their best players to band together for the World Cup next year. McMahon is absolutely one of our best. Just shows the problems go much deeper off the field #GoldBlooded https://t.co/ako49eHYva
— Joshua Small (@Joshua_107) November 28, 2018
Does Sean McMahon playing super rugby make him eligible for the Wallabies?
— Reg Roberts (@RugbyReg) November 28, 2018
At the time Michael Cheika made it publicly known that McMahon was a high priority for the Wallabies and Australian Rugby, ‘putting the ball’ in McMahon’s court.
“We’ve been really clear with Sean about what we’d like,” Cheika said.
“The ball is in his court.”
He signed with Suntory Sungoliath in the Japan Top League, abandoning his international career in favour of a Japanese rendezvous. He will now play against all the Australian Rugby franchises with the Sunwolves in the Australian conference, after joining them on a one-year deal.
In order to play for the Wallabies again, McMahon will need to sign with an Australian-based franchise to be available without being eligible for the 60-cap exemption threshold.
He could potentially sign on for the 2020 season and squeeze his way into late World Cup contention, in a similar fashion to how Leicester Tigers and future Melbourne Rebel Matt Toomua has played for the Wallabies before donning his new club’s jersey this year.
Earning a reported $800,000 per season in Japan, McMahon has little financial incentives to return home with Australian teams unable to fork out enough to put together an attractive package.
As a capped foreigner unable to play for the Japan national side, McMahon could have kept his body fresh for the domestic season, but instead will play a grueling Super Rugby season for little reward. Signing with the Sunwolves sends a significant message to Australian Rugby, with the JRFU backed-side possessing nowhere near the financial clout as the Japanese companies who run the Top League.
In other news:
Sign up to our mailing list here and we’ll keep you up to the minute with weekly updates from the world of rugby.