Joshua Wayne Mann-Rea
- 885Wallaby Number
Born in Narromine, raised in Eumundi on the Queensland Sunshine Coast and educated at Brisbane rugby nursery Nudgee College, Josh Mann-Rea’s amazing journey from coal to gold began at the age of 26 when he believed his footballing prime was behind him.
In 2000, Mann-Rea represented Australian U19s under the leadership of fellow future Wallaby Dan Heenan and two years later he played in the inaugural U21s World Championships however his career then took a most unconventional path and by 2007 he had all but given up on a professional rugby career. 'I thought it was time to get a real job, earn some money and look after the family. I had an opportunity to work in the [Illawarra coal] mines and couldn’t say no', Mann-Rea said.
In 2009, and completely out of left field, came a rugby lifeline in Japan’s J-League with the Kyuden Voltex. Mann-Rea spent two years as a goal-kicking hooker with the Voltex. He returned to Australia in 2011 with the Waratahs before the ACT Brumbies picked him up in 2013 as an 'Emerging Player' and he took a pay-cut for the privilege.
In 2014 a mounting injury toll among Australian hookers opened the door for Mann-Rea to cap his remarkable comeback. In September of that year he became the second oldest Wallaby debutant since World War II when chosen in the match day 23 to play Argentina in Mendoza.
Selected to play for Australian Schools against New Zealand Schools and chosen in the squad to tour Canada and Europe where he started at hooker in all five Tests.
Represented Australia at the U19s IRB-FIRA World Cup in France.
Represented Australia at the inaugural IRB U21s World Championships in South Africa
Won his first Test cap off the bench when he replaced Saia Fainga’a in the 17-21 loss to Argentina at Mendoza. Mann-Rea earned a second replacement cap in the 28-29 loss to New Zealand in Brisbane.