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Old but bold: happy hooker Mann-Rea joins Brumbies

New ACT Brumbies signing Josh Mann-Rea.

New ACT Brumbies signing Josh Mann-Rea. Photo: Colleen Petch

He's launching his career at an age when most are preparing to finish, but Josh Mann-Rea is comfortable taking an unfamiliar path to his Super Rugby dream.

A decade after rubbing shoulders with Matt Giteau and Mark Gerrard in the Australian under 21s, Mann-Rea will get his chance to make the ACT Brumbies his home after signing an extended player squad contract.

Mann-Rea, 31, is the oldest player in a Brumbies team of rising stars. He's older than Wallabies veteran Stephen Moore and has five months on comeback king Clyde Rathbone. But after a journey which has taken him from the coalmines in Wollongong to Japan and now to Canberra, Mann-Rea is ready to prove he belongs in Super Rugby.

The hooker admits he wasted his opportunities when he was younger and was more focused on partying than playing rugby.

It meant he was working in coalmines while watching Australian under-21s teammates Giteau, Gerrard and Mark Chisholm as well as fellow Queensland Reds Academy partner Moore rise to the top of international rugby.

''I didn't think there were many [opportunities] around so I was going to go back to the mines. But then I found out the Brumbies had an opportunity so I came down,'' Mann-Rea said.

''I didn't take my chances when I was younger, I didn't appreciate it. But to get a second shot … I'm pretty lucky, I appreciate my footy a lot more now.

''It's weird because those guys I played with [in the Australian under 21s] are finishing their careers or going overseas, but I'm doing it the other way around.''

The Canberra Times can reveal the Brumbies have filled three of their five extended player squad (EPS) spots available with Mann-Rea being joined by 22-year-old prop Ruan Smith and 27-year-old flanker Jordan Smiler.

Three of last season's five EPS members (Jesse Mogg, Scott Fardy and Scott Sio) are now in Jake White's 30-man full-time squad.

Mann-Rea replaces Anthony Hegarty - who now plays in France - and will compete with Moore and Siliva Siliva for the hooking duties.

After giving rugby away for two years in 2007, Mann-Rea returned for three seasons in Japan before answering an SOS from the NSW Waratahs this year.

With one Super Rugby cap to his name, he is hungry for more. ''This is a good opportunity for me to get into the system and see where I can go … hopefully I get to play some games and put pressure on the other hookers,'' he said. ''I just want to get the best out of my rugby that I can. It's not too hard being the old fella.''

Meanwhile, Tuggeranong Vikings hooker and MacDougall Medal winner Pat Leafa has won a spot on the Melbourne Rebels' EPS.

Leafa was a standout in the John I Dent Cup and helped the Vikings to a grand final triumph last month.

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Rugby World Cup 2015

Round 1
Sat, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
ENG 0vs FJI 0 05:00Twic
TGA 0vs GEO 0 21:00Kholm
IRE 0vs CAN 0 23:30MilS
Sun, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs JPN 0 01:45Brig
FRA 0vs ITA 0 05:00Twic
SAM 0vs USA 0 21:00Brig
WAL 0vs URU 0 23:30MilS
Mon, 21 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs ARG 0 01:45Wemb
Wed, 23 SepTimes shown AEST
SCO 0vs JPN 0 23:30Kholm
Thu, 24 SepTimes shown AEST
AUS 0vs FJI 0 01:45MilS
FRA 0vs ROM 0 05:00The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs NAM 0 05:00The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
ARG 0vs GEO 0 01:45Kholm
ITA 0vs CAN 0 23:30Ella
Sun, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs SAM 0 01:45Villa
ENG 0vs WAL 0 05:00Twic
AUS 0vs URU 0 21:00Villa
SCO 0vs USA 0 23:30Ella
Mon, 28 SepTimes shown AEST
IRE 0vs ROM 0 01:45Wemb
Wed, 30 SepTimes shown AEST
TGA 0vs NAM 0 01:45Sand
Fri, 02 OctTimes shown AEST
WAL 0vs FJI 0 01:45MilS
FRA 0vs CAN 0 05:00stadium:mk
Sat, 03 OctTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs GEO 0 05:00MilS
SAM 0vs JPN 0 23:30stadium:mk
Sun, 04 OctTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs SCO 0 01:45St James' Park
ENG 0vs AUS 0 06:00Twic
Mon, 05 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 0vs TGA 0 00:30KPS
IRE 0vs ITA 0 02:45The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Wed, 07 OctTimes shown AEDT
CAN 0vs ROM 0 02:45KPS
FJI 0vs URU 0 06:00stadium:mk
Thu, 08 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 0vs USA 0 02:45The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
NAM 0vs GEO 0 06:00Sand
Sat, 10 OctTimes shown AEDT
NZL 0vs TGA 0 06:00St James' Park
Sun, 11 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAM 0vs SCO 0 00:30St James' Park
AUS 0vs WAL 0 02:45Twic
ENG 0vs URU 0 06:00Manch
ARG 0vs NAM 0 22:00KPS
Mon, 12 OctTimes shown AEDT
ITA 0vs ROM 0 00:30Sand
FRA 0vs IRE 0 02:45MilS
USA 0vs JPN 0 06:00Kholm
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sun, 18 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinB 0vs RUpA 0 02:00Twic
WinC 0vs RUpD 0 06:00MilS
WinD 0vs RUpC 0 23:00MilS
Mon, 19 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinA 0vs RUpB 0 02:00Twic
Sun, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF1 0vs WQF2 0 02:00Twic
Mon, 26 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF3 0vs WQF4 0 03:00Twic
Sat, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
LSF1 0vs LSF2 0 07:00The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Sun, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
WSF1 0vs WSF2 0 03:00Twic
View All Fixtures
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
France 0 0 0 0 0 0
New Zealand 0 0 0 0 0 0
Canada 0 0 0 0 0 0
Tonga 0 0 0 0 0 0
Japan 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Romania 0 0 0 0 0 0
Argentina 0 0 0 0 0 0
England 0 0 0 0 0 0
Georgia 0 0 0 0 0 0
Scotland 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Australia 0 0 0 0 0 0
USA 0 0 0 0 0 0
Italy 0 0 0 0 0 0
Ireland 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Fiji 0 0 0 0 0 0
Samoa 0 0 0 0 0 0
Namibia 0 0 0 0 0 0
South Africa 0 0 0 0 0 0
Wales 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
 

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