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Pocock sits out training, could still face Ireland

James O’Connor has been named in the Wallabies side to face Ireland but Robbie Deans has a worry over David Pocock.

David Pocock
David Pocock
Image: Rob Griffith/AP/Press Association Images

AUSTRALIA HAVE LATE concerns over the fitness of openside flanker David Pocock ahead of their Pool C with Ireland in Auckland.

The 23-year-old is Australia’s only specialist seven and is suffering with a tight back. He failed to train with his team-mates at Eden Park on Friday but will be re-assessed before kick-off.

A team spokesperson said the decision to allow Pocock sit out the session was a “precautionary measure”, saying his fitness would be looked at again on Saturday.

Speaking after training, Wallabies captain James Horwill expressed the opinion that Pocock will face Ireland, saying: “He’s just a bit tight and you know we just wanted to be pretty careful with him.

“We didn’t want to push it but I imagine he’ll be OK. That’s the belief I’ve got. If he’s right he’s going to give it his all, he’s that sort of guy.”

Otherwise, Wallabies boss Robbie Deans has made one change to his team for the clash with James O’Connor coming in for the injured Digby Ioane. The back will also take over kicking duties from Quade Cooper and his inclusion has seen Adam Ashley-Cooper move from the right to left wing.

“While it is disappointing for Digby that he is going to be on the sidelines for a while, we are confident he will be available to us again before too long,” Deans revealed.

“(Ireland) are a solid unit, filled with experienced performers. Their set piece is excellent, they have a big pack and they will be up for it, seeing this match as a great opportunity to make a statement.

“Crucially they have also troubled us in the past, and will believe they can do so again. We’ve never had it easy playing against them. Saturday night will be no difficult. It is going to take a big effort to get the job done.”

Australia XV v Ireland: Kurtley Beale; James O’Connor, Anthony Fainga’a, Pat McCabe, Adam Ashley-Cooper; Quade Cooper, Will Genia; Sekope Kepu, Stephen Moore, Ben Alexander; Dan Vickerman, James Horwill; Rocky Elsom, David Pocock, Radike Samo.

Replacements: Tatafu Polota Nau, James Slipper, Rob Simmons, Ben McCalman, Scott Higginbotham, Luke Burgess, Drew Mitchell.

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