LONDON – Wallabies ace David Pocock has overcome a fitness doubt to be included in Australia’s starting team to play England at Twickenham on Saturday.
The loose forward missed training on Monday, and was restricted to non-contact work on Tuesday after sustaining a neck injury in last weekend’s 26-7 win against Italy in Padua.
Nevertheless, Pocock was named at No 8 by coach Michael Cheika on Thursday for Australia’s final Test of the year.
But in a surprise move, Kurtley Beale has been left out of the team entirely – the first occasion in recent times that no place in the back division could be spared for the gifted playmaker when fit and available.
Israel Folau remains at fullback despite the return of Dane Haylett-Petty, back on the right wing after playing off the bench against the Azzurri.
Jack Maddocks will start on the opposite wing.
Matt To’omua remains at flyhalf after starring in Italy, with Bernard Foley again lining up at inside centre.
Scrumhalf Will Genia will win his 100th cap at Twickenham, becoming the 10th Australian player to record a century of international appearances.
Genia is one of five changes to Australia’s line-up, with tighthead prop Sekope Kepu back in the side alongside hooker Tolu Latu.
England named their team earlier on Thursday, with Red Rose boss Eddie Jones, the former Australia coach, looking to end Manu Tuilagi’s more than two-year absence from international rugby by recalling the Leicester centre on the bench.
Australia have lost all five Tests against England since Jones took over as boss of the ‘old enemy’ after the Wallabies condemned the then hosts to a first-round exit at the 2015 World Cup.
Israel Folau, Dane Haylett-Petty, Samu Kerevi, Bernard Foley, Jack Maddocks, Matt To’omua, Will Genia, David Pocock, Michael Hooper (captain), Jack Dempsey, Adam Coleman, Izack Rodda, Sekope Kepu, Tolu Latu, Scott Sio.
Bench: Tatafu Polota-Nau, Jermaine Ainsley, Allan Alaalatoa, Rob Simmons, Ned Hanigan, Pete Samu, Nick Phipps, Sefa Naivalu.
#BREAKING | Your #Wallabies to face @EnglandRugby at Twickenham on Sunday at 2am AEDT.— Qantas Wallabies (@qantaswallabies) November 22, 2018
Watch LIVE on @beINSPORTS_AUS and @SBS.
READ: https://t.co/KH2c07KZwY#SpringTour18 #GoldBlooded pic.twitter.com/mRtQj8k5SE