McMahon on his way to Japan

Wallabies and Melbourne Rebels back-row Sean McMahon has all but closed the door on the 2019 Rugby World Cup, confirming a looming move to Japan.

McMahon has signed a two-year deal with a Japanese club, though an official announcement has yet to be made on his destination, with the flanker leaving that in his new team’s hands.

The move has been heavily speculated for months and McMahon made no secret on social media that the Rebels loss to the Jaguares would be his final game for the side, but this is the first time he has spoken publicly about his departure.

He and wife Nia, who is a teacher in Queensland, are keen to broaden their horizons in a new country, but McMahon said it was no simple decision.

“We’ll be done with the Rebels at the end of this season and all I can say is I won’t be playing in Australia next year,” he told the Australian Rugby Union’s official website.

“It was a very big call to make.

“There was a few factors, a few personal ones and a few other issues I don’t really want to go into but it obviously was a big decision for my career and my personal life as well. Pretty happy with my decision and so is my wife as well.

“That’s what me and my wife Nia are looking forward to doing, is going over and experiencing something new.

“She loves to travel as well so it’s going to be something new for her as well.”

A two-year contract would leave him open to a 2019 Rugby World Cup return, though McMahon said that seemed unlikely at this stage, given he will play no part in Australian rugby in the lead-up