Rugby

Hooper pips Pocock at flank?

2012-11-28 12:04
Michael Hooper (AFP)
Cardiff - Wallabies flank Michael Hooper appears to have retained his starting spot over former captain David Pocock in the Wallabies final spring tour Test against Wales on Saturday.

The 21-year-old ran with the starting team at a light training session in Cardiff on Tuesday, with Pocock running with the reserve forwards for much of the afternoon.

It was Pocock's first contact session since straining a calf muscle at training ahead of the England match two weeks ago.The Brumbies flank has not played since injuring his knee in the Wallabies' loss to the All Blacks in the first Bledisloe Cup Test in Sydney in August.

The squad also appeared to be preparing to play without lock Sitaleki Timani, who faces a Six Nations committee hearing on Wednesday night to answer a charge of striking Italian prop Andrea Lo Cicero.

A heavily-strapped Kane Douglas ran in Timani's place at training after getting over a knee niggle and rejoining the squad from London, where his mother is in hospital recovering from a stroke.

Waratahs halfback Brendan McKibbin also trained with the squad after travelling from Sydney to replace Brett Sheehan, who suffered an ankle injury half an hour after his debut start for the Wallabies last Saturday. Sheehan flew back to Australia on Tuesday night.

Nick Phipps will wear the starting No 9 jersey against Wales, with the rest of the back line and forwards unchanged from the Test against Italy.

Nick Cummins and Drew Mitchell appear to be in line to start on the wings, with Digby Ioane to play off the bench. Berrick Barnes will earn his 50th Test cap when he starts at fullback, Adam Ashley-Cooper and Ben Tapuai will pair up again in the mid-field and Kurtley Beale will start at flyhalf.

Hooker Stephen Moore looks set to start again in the frontrow alongside Benn Robinson and Ben Alexander, while Scott Higginbotham and Wycliff Palu will start again in the backrow.

Likely Wallabies starting XV (15-1):

Berrick Barnes, Nick Cummins, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Ben Tapuai, Drew Mitchell, Kurtley Beale, Nick Phipps, Wycliff Palu, Michael Hooper, Scott Higginbotham, Nathan Sharpe (captain), Kane Douglas, Ben Alexander, Stephen Moore, Benn Robinson

Read more on:    wallabies  |  david pocock  |  rugby
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