MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Wallabies loose forward David Pocock is still wary of a neck problem that sidelined him for the Rugby Championship match against South Africa and suggested it might require long-term management.
Pocock, one of the game’s most fearless warriors at the breakdown, is back in the side for Saturday’s Rugby Championship match against Argentina and will lead the Wallabies on the Gold Coast in the absence of injured regular skipper Michael Hooper.
Pocock was sore after playing against the All Blacks at Eden Park, and the Wallabies blamed their opponents for employing an illegal “neck roll” tactic to try to shift him off the ball.
Pocock said his neck would require further attention going forward.
“It’s something that I’ll have to talk to the medical staff about and have a bit of a plan,” the 30-year-old told reporters at the Gold Coast on Friday.
“I guess now I’ve got through enough contact to give me the confidence to play, so that’s really the focus at the moment.
“I’ve got a bit of time next week, I’m sure we can sit down and work that out.”
Pocock was one of three late withdrawals to hit the Wallabies last week before they ground out a tough 23-18 win over the Springboks in Brisbane.
Hooper’s withdrawal is another blow to their preparations against the Pumas, forcing Pocock to move across from number eight to slot into the openside flanker position.
Pete Samu has come into the starting squad at the back of the scrum.
Pocock said the late injuries were at least teaching the Wallabies how to adapt.
“I think one of the things (coach Michael) Cheika has done really well is bring in a whole bunch of new talent,” he said.
“If this had have happened before the last World Cup I think we would have been in some serious strife but as it is now there’s a bunch of guys who have been part of the group, know how we want to play and are able to slot in.”
(Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)