He won’t be part of it for much longer but Sean McMahon reckons there is “something special” brewing in the current crop of Wallabies.
The 23-year-old is playing in what will be his last Bledisloe Cup series for several years, ahead of his impending shift to Japanese rugby on a two-season deal.
It is shaping as a bittersweet move for the dynamic back-rower because of what he is leaving behind.
Echoing remarks from skills coach Mick Byrne earlier in the week that Australia is treading the same path of improvement as the All Blacks did a decade ago, McMahon said he was convinced the team will soon emerge from the current doom and gloom a vastly better side.
“There’s a different vibe in this team at the moment which hasn’t been there for a little while so it’s going to be exciting to see what we can put out this weekend and in the coming months,” McMahon told AAP.
“I am going to be heading offshore but right now I’m just focusing on being part of this group and trying to make (that happen).
“Down the track and hopefully starting with this weekend we can start to show the Australian public and the rest of the world that there is something special here, and we’re working hard to find it.”
It was hard to find much evidence in last weekend’s Bledisloe Cup opener, as the Wallabies were trounced by an awe-inspiring first-half performance from the All Blacks, who tore apart their defensive structures at will.
But McMahon said the second half of the match, which saw Australia pile on 28 unanswered points, was cause for genuine hope in Saturday’s second Test at Dunedin’s Forsyth Barr Stadium.
“An aggressive start’s what’s needed, straight from the kick-off,” he said.
“This week we’re putting a real big focus on getting that confidence and connection with each other in defence and really making sure we have that down pat, because the score on the weekend was a result of poor defensive reads and missed tackles.”