Australia’s David Pocock recovers from neck injury to face England

Michael Cheika leaves Kurtley Beale out of 23 with Bernard Foley named at centre

David Pocock passes the ball during an Australia training session in London on Thursday. Photograph:  Dan Mullan/Getty Images

David Pocock passes the ball during an Australia training session in London on Thursday. Photograph: Dan Mullan/Getty Images

 

Australia number eight David Pocock has recovered from his neck injury in time to face England at Twickenham on Saturday.

Pocock sustained the injury against Italy last weekend to place his involvement in the Cook Cup showdown in doubt, although England boss Eddie Jones on Monday accused the Wallabies of smoke and mirrors.

“I hear this every time we play Australia – Pocock’s not going to be fit. So when I heard it I thought: ‘Here we go again’. You know those merry-go-rounds? It’s a bit like that,” Jones said.

England view Pocock as the greatest threat to their bid to record a sixth successive win in the fixture due to his breakdown expertise, with flanker Brad Shields describing the 30-year-old as the game’s most accomplished fetcher.

In an unexpected call by Wallabies head coach Michael Cheika, Kurtley Beale has been left out of the matchday 23 entirely. Since making his debut in 2009, Beale has been an ever-present for Australia when fit.

Matt Toomua continues at outhalf with Bernard Foley picked in the unusual position of inside centre, while scrumhalf Will Genia becomes the 10th Wallaby to join the rank of Test centurions.

AUSTRALIA: I Folau; D Haylett-Petty, S Kerevi, B Foley, J Maddocks; M To’omua, W Genia; S Sio, T Latu, S Kepu; I Rodda, A Coleman; J Dempsey, M Hooper (capt), D Pocock.

Replacements: T Polota-Nau, J Ainsley, A Alaalatoa, R Simmons, N Hanigan, P Samu, N Phipps, S Naivalu.

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