LONDON – Australian loose forward David Pocock has been ruled out of Saturday’s Test against England, just over a day before the Cook Cup clash at Twickenham.
Pocock was in at No 8 when Wallaby coach Michael Cheika named his side on Thursday, even though the ball scavenger was struggling with a neck injury suffered during last week’s 26-7 win away to Italy.
But a further fitness test on Friday saw Pocock sidelined, a team spokesman confirmed to travelling Australian media.
Australia have yet to announce who will replace Pocock, although Pete Samu is the likeliest contender to take over at No 8.
England scrum coach Neal Hatley, speaking before Pocock was ruled out, told reporters at Twickenham on Friday: “He’s got double the turnovers of any other stealer in tier one this year. A hell of a good player.
“But they’ve got Michael Hooper and other people, (Tatafu) Polota-Nau, who jackal the ball,” he added.
Saturday’s match will be the final Test of 2018 for both England, coached by former Australia boss Eddie Jones, and the Wallabies.
Victory this weekend would mean Jones had won all six of his Test against his native Australia since taking charge of England following the 2015 World Cup debacle – when a defeat by eventual finalists Australia condemned the tournament hosts to a first-round exit.