Japanese duo Samu Kerevi and Sean McMahon are due to stay in Japan and will not join the Wallabies on their Northern Hemisphere tour, leaving coach Dave Rennie with holes in his squad
The Wallabies suffered a double blow ahead of their European tour after Samu Kerevi and Sean McMahon opted to stay in Japan ahead of the club’s new campaign.
Center Kerevi and back rower McMahon are both based in Tokyo Sungoliath, but are expected to play a starring role in upcoming matches against Scotland, England and Wales.
Australia beat Japan 32-23 in Oita on Saturday before moving on to the UK, although neither player faced the Cherry Blossoms.
The pair were previously included as two of the Wallabies allowed exceptions to the Giteau Law, given that neither player has racked up 60 caps and each plays their own rugby club outside of Australia.
Rugby Australia chief executive Andy Marinos told the Sydney Morning Herald of his frustration with the way the case was handled, with the players supposedly not telling the team of their decisions until Monday.
“The players have made the decision to withdraw, for personal and / or other reasons,” said Marinos .
âTherefore, yes, we can apply Reg 9 because it is part of the regulations, but it is also quite difficult if a player has chosen not to tour.
âSamu cited the fact that he’s been on the road for a long time, from the seven to the Olympics, how far he is. He cited his physical and mental well-being. Obviously, they’re going to enter another tough bubble overseas. Sean has just made the decision that he prefers to withdraw from the tour.
Marinos went on to call the news “extremely disappointing” after the couple recently gave the impression that they would be available for the entire spring series.
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Rule 9 allows national teams to call players out of the club as long as it is within a recognized international testing window, such as the one in November.
McMahon, 27, only recently made his first Australian appearance in nearly four years as a substitute against Argentina, but Kerevi will be seen as a missed character in the weeks to come.
The former Queensland Red had a major impact in the Wallabies midfielder following his return to the recent rugby championship, seen as a potential cornerstone for the squad after finishing second.
âFrom our side, it’s extremely disappointing. It’s disappointing that we have supported these players, in terms of giving them another opportunity, âadded Marinos.
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âWe just expected a more honest approach, from the start, if it wasn’t their intention to travel.
âIf there had been a fancy that they weren’t going on tour, we would have appreciated it much sooner. Back then when we told them they were going to be selected for this tour.
Kerevi was treating an ankle injury but had to recover in time for matches against Scotland (November 7), England (November 13) and Wales (November 20).
Hunter Paisami now looks set to hold onto his place in crosses alongside Len Ikitau, the same partnership that began in the more shaky-than-expected victory over Japan.
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Opening half Quade Cooper recently entered into similar talks to stay with his club, the Kintetsu Liners, rather than travel to the UK, but head coach Dave Rennie has since confirmed he will tour. with the Wallabies.
The first season of Japan Rugby League One, the country’s first campaign as a fully professional organization, is set to begin on January 7.
Bristol Bears winger Luke Morahan and Racing 92 playmaker Kurtley Beale are said to be among the contenders for a late call-up, with their inclusion simplified as they already play in Europe.
The team should already team up with Will Skelton, Rory Arnold and Tolu Latu, who each play in the French Top 14, but other last minute changes could come.