David Pocock struggling to be fit for All Blacks rematch
AUSTRALIA captain David Pocock is a doubt for next week’s Rugby Championship clash against New Zealand after injuring his knee in a 27-19 loss to the same opponents on Saturday.
The openside flanker will go for a scan on Sunday to assess the damage and Wallabies coach Robbie Deans was coy about his prized poacher’s availability for the match in Auckland. “That’s a possibility,” Deans told reporters when asked if Pocock could miss the Test at Eden Park where Australia have not won since 1986.
Scrum-half Will Genia will lead the side against the World Cup winners if Pocock fails to recover in time, Deans said.
Pocock was the only injury concern for the Wallabies after the scrappy defeat against their trans-Tasman rivals in the opening match of the expanded Tri Nations tournament, which now also features Argentina, who lost their first match in the tournament 27-6 to South Africa in Cape Town on Saturday.
New Zealand rarely looked tested against a nervous-looking Australia as Israel Dagg and Cory Jane crossed for first half tries, with Dan Carter adding 17 points for the world champions in front of 76,877 people at Sydney’s Olympic stadium.
The All Blacks have now won nine of the past 11 Tests against Australia, including victory in the semifinals of the 2011 World Cup, en route to its second world championship crown last November.
“I’m really pleased that we were able to get that win away from home and even more pleased to make sure they didn’t get a point as far as the championship goes,” All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said.
“I thought there were some very good displays from our guys.”
Nathan Sharpe scored Australia’s lone try, with flyh-alf Berrick Barnes kicking 14 points. Deans lamented the basic errors that put his team on the back foot throughout the contest. “Some of the errors out there today were not acceptable under any circumstances in any competition,” he said.
Meanwhile, South Africa hooker Bismarck du Plessis needs surgery on his right knee and has been ruled out for the rest of the season after being injured in the opening minutes of the Springboks’ win over Argentina. The South African Rugby Union says Du Plessis was diagnosed with knee ligament damage following the game and has been withdrawn from the squad to travel to Argentina on Sunday. South Africa have called up Du Plessis’ Sharks teammate, Craig Burden, as cover. Adriaan Strauss and Tiaan Liebenberg are the other hookers in the squad, while prop Dean Greyling, lock Juandre Kruger and scrumhalf Jano Vermaak have also been added.
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