McMahon starts for Australia against Wales

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has named his first full Test team for this weekend’s match against Wales at the Millennium Stadium and given Sean McMahon his starting debut.

Cheika has retained the core of the starting team that played the All Blacks three weeks ago and included Ben McCalman and debutant Sean McMahon for the injured Scott Higginbotham and Scott Fardy.

McMahon’s selection caps off a remarkable year for the 20-year-old Melbourne Rebels backrower in which he was also awarded the Super Rookie of the Year; NRC Player of the Year and Australian Under 20s Player of the Year.

“Going into the Barbarians match it was made clear that players had an opportunity to push their way into the Test team with a strong performance,” Cheika said.

“Sean made the most of his opportunity and brought great work-rate and physicality to our game.

“This selection also recognises the outstanding year he has had at all levels of the game, and he thoroughly deserves the chance to debut for Australia.”

McMahon is one of two uncapped players chosen in the team, with Western Force prop Tetera Faulkner earning a spot on an extended nine-man bench.

Faulkner, 26, is a former Australian Schoolboys, Under 19 and Under 20 representative who has earned 29 Super Rugby caps since debuting for the Western Force in 2011, and has the unique ability to be able to play on both sides of the scrum.

Cheika has again chosen an extended bench which includes hooker James Hanson; props Faulkner and Ben Alexander; locks James Horwill and Will Skelton; backrower Matt Hodgson; scrumhalf Will Genia; flyhalf Quade Cooper; and winger Rob Horne.

One player will be omitted from the bench in the lead-up to gameday.

Cheika said the team was looking forward to their first Test match of the Spring Tour.

“I’ve been really pleased with attitude and commitment of the team and by how they have embraced a new environment and way of doing things,” he said.

“Everyone has worked really hard on preparing themselves in the best possible way, and we’re all excited about the opportunity to represent Australia and give our absolute best on Saturday.”


1. James Slipper , 2. Saia Fainga’a , 3. Sekope Kepu , 4. Sam Carter , 5. Rob Simmons , 6. Sean McMahon *, 7. Michael Hooper , 8. Ben McCalman , 9. Nick Phipps , 10. Bernard Foley , 11. Joe Tomane, 12. Christian Leali’ifano , 13. Tevita Kuridrani , 14. Adam Ashley-Cooper, 15. Israel Folau

Replacements : James Hanson , Tetera Faulkner *, Ben Alexander, James Horwill , Will Skelton, Matt Hodgson , Will Genia , Quade Cooper , Rob Horne (one to be omitted)

*On Debut

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