FULL STEAM AHEAD: The Brumbies’ Josh Mann-Rea gets wrapped up by the Bulls in a round-eight clash at Canberra Stadium on April 4 this year.
FULL STEAM AHEAD: The Brumbies’ Josh Mann-Rea gets wrapped up by the Bulls in a round-eight clash at Canberra Stadium on April 4 this year. Mark Nolangetty IMAGES

Baby wait puts Noosa product in line for Test jersey

FORMER Noosa junior Josh Mann-Rea's breakthrough rugby season continued this week when he was called into the Wallabies squad to face South Africa tonight.

The 33-year-old hooker has been brought into Ewen McKenzie's camp in Perth as cover for reserve hooker Saia Fainga'a, whose fiancee Alicia Antico is past due with their first child.

Mann-Rea will take Fainga'a's place if his fiancee goes into labour before tonight's match.

Mann-Rea, coach McKenzie's ninth-choice hooker, benefits from the lack of fit rakes in the country but has overcome a number of obstacles to put himself in position to succeed.

After waiting 20 years, including a three-season stint in Japan, to bring his Super Rugby dream to life, he joined the ACT Brumbies in 2012 and started this season as third-string hooker behind Stephen Moore and Siliva Siliva.

Mann-Rea was called into action following season-ending injuries to the pair and played three games to help the Brumbies secure a semi-final berth.

He was called into the Wallabies squad after fellow Sunshine Coast product Heath Tessman suffered an ankle injury playing in the National Rugby Championship last weekend.


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