The pair will complete pre-season with their club Suntory Sungoliath

Samu Kerevi and Sean McMahon withdraw from Australia’s Autumn Internationals squad

Australia’s talisman Samu Kerevi and team-mate Sean McMahon have withdrawn from Australia’s Autumn Internationals squad to complete pre-season with their club in Japan.

The Wallabies will face Wales, England and Scotland for the autumn tests.

The pair play for Suntory Sungoliath, where they signed in 2020 and 2018 respectively. At the time eligibility rules meant they couldn’t play internationally while competing in Japan. Rules changed just before the Rugby Championship and the duo were chosen as part of Dave Rennie’s side.

Rennie had been confident he would have both Kerevi and McMahon for the tour. But it’s understood meetings on Monday saw the pair opt to stay in Japan because their club did not give their approval.

Rugby Australia’s chief executive Andy Marinos has shared his disappointment at the late withdrawal.

What has been said about Samu Kerevi and Sean McMahon withdrawal?

He said: “From our side, it’s hugely disappointing. It’s disappointing for the fact that we’ve backed these players, in terms of giving them another opportunity.

“If there was an inclination they were not going to tour, we would have appreciated it a lot earlier. At the time, when they were told they were going to be selected on that tour.”

And Rennie added: “In Samu’s case, he’s been away from Suntory for a while. They’re obviously in pre-season now and have a competition that starts in January. They’ve always been very positive about being back in the environment, keen to be a Wallaby, and we felt if they got the blessing of the club, they would tour.”

Kerevi was an integral part to Australia’s revival as the team won four consecutive matches with the star at 12. The centre suffered an ankle injury ahead of their clash with Japan last Saturday. Rennie called up Hunter Paisami but he couldn’t generate as much of an impact as Kerevi.

The duo have not officially been removed from the squad but more bad news could be heading Australia’s way. Fly-half Quade Cooper could also withdraw as he plays in the Japanese league.

“We spoke with Quade this morning, and he met with the club. We have a meeting with Kintetsu (Cooper’s club) tomorrow,” Rennie added.

The Wallabies will have experienced players linking up with the team in England. Will Skelton, Rory Arnold and Tolu Latu will feature in their training in London.

Australia’s next test will be against Scotland on 7 November.

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