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Rebels back Fainga'a to replace McMahon

NZN 27/05/2017 Melissa Woods

Melbourne Rebels back row star Sean McMahon has been ruled out of the Wallabies'June Tests but the battling Super Rugby club feel they, as well as Australia, have a ready-made replacement in Colby Fainga'a.

McMahon suffered a dislocated wrist late in the Rebels' 41-19 Super Rugby loss to the competition-leading Crusaders in Melbourne on Saturday.

He was taken straight to hospital for treatment.

While cleared of any fractures, McMahon needed a procedure to relocate his wrist, the latest setback in an injury-marred campaign.

He was discharged from hospital on Sunday morning but is expected to miss six to eight weeks.

That would definitely sideline him for Australia's Tests against Fiji, Scotland and Italy and probably most, if not all, of the Rebels three remaining games.

With superstar openside flanker David Pocock on a sabbatical, 15-times capped McMahon was set for Wallabies selection behind first-choice No.7 Michael Hooper.

Coach Michael Cheika had even talked about finding a leadership role for the 22-year-old forward, who is believed to be considering a move overseas.

Now McMahon is unavailable, Rebels' coach Tony McGahan said Fainga'a would be right at home in a Wallabies jumper, following in the footsteps of his older brothers Saia and Anthony.

The 26-year-old played four seasons with the Brumbies before shifting to Melbourne in 2014, where he has become one of their strongest performers.

"Colby was a super player at the Brumbies and we were really fortunate to pick him up and he's become one of our most consistent players on and off the field," McGahan said.

"We'd be delighted for him to get a look in and he certainly wouldn't be out of place."

Fainga'a showed there was more to his game than just turnovers and tackles in the second half against the unbeaten Crusaders, when he took the ball from a line-out and flicked a backhand pass on to a rampaging Marika Koroibete.

"Colby's got a pretty good skill set and he's able to do a lot of things that a lot of other forwards can't do. So we were utilising his ability to do that," McGahan said.

The Wallabies squad will be named on Tuesday night with the first Test against Fiji in Melbourne on June 10.

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