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Major boost for Wallabies as Pocock returns for All Blacks clash

Teenager Jordan Petaia has also been included in the Australia squad for next week’s game in Perth.

David Pocock could feature in the first Bledisloe Cup Test.
David Pocock could feature in the first Bledisloe Cup Test.
Image: AAP/PA Images

INJURY-HIT FORMER CAPTAIN David Pocock was today included in the Wallabies squad to face the All Blacks next week in a major boost for Australia as the World Cup looms.

The acclaimed flanker struggled with a calf injury all season, restricting him to just 138 minutes for the ACT Brumbies in Super Rugby and ruling him out of the first two Rugby Championship games.

Pocock also suffered neck and concussion problems, but has recovered sufficiently to make the 36-man squad for the first Bledisloe Cup Test in Perth on 10 August.

Scrum-half Nick Phipps, backrower Jack Dempsey and winger Jack Maddocks were notable omissions, with teenager Jordan Petaia a surprise inclusion.

The exciting 19-year-old outside back was due to make his Test debut against Italy last year but withdrew after suffering a foot injury in training. He missed most of the Super Rugby season, and Wallabies coach Michael Cheika said he was happy to see him in contention once again.

“Squad decisions are getting harder and harder to make. So many lads are putting their hands up at training and at club rugby around the country, and each one of them is pushing the other to get better each day,” he said.

“It’s great to see Jordan back. He’s had a few games of club rugby under his belt now so we’ll look to integrate him this week in Perth and give him time to settle in.”

The Wallabies head into the match on the back of a confidence-boosting 16-10 win against Argentina in Brisbane last Saturday, following a disappointing 35-17 loss to South Africa.

“We were pleased to get the win against Argentina and we felt we built on some things from the previous game against South Africa and now we’ll be looking to build on that,” said Cheika.

“There’s strong belief in the group and it’s showing itself in how hard they’re training and how committed they are to doing whatever they need to do to achieve our goals.”

Australia

Forwards: Allan Alaalatoa, Rory Arnold, Adam Coleman, Folau Fainga’a, Michael Hooper (capt), Luke Jones, Sekope Kepu, Tolu Latu, Isi Naisarani, David Pocock, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Izack Rodda, Rob Simmons, Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, Scott Sio, James Slipper, Taniela Tupou, Jordan Uelese, Rob Valetini, Liam Wright.

Backs: Adam Ashley-Cooper, Tom Banks, Kurtley Beale, Bernard Foley, Will Genia, Dane Haylett-Petty, Reece Hodge, Samu Kerevi, Marika Koroibete, Tevita Kuridrani, Christian Lealiifano, James O’Connor, Jordan Petaia, Joe Powell, Matt Toomua, Nic White.

© – AFP, 2019

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