SYDNEY - Agence France-Presse
David Pocock, bottom, reaches for a loose ball while playing against Wales. AP photo
Australia’s hopes of recovering from a chastening defeat to New Zealand and breaking a 26-year hoodoo have been dealt a potentially savage blow with captain David Pocock an injury doubt.
Wallabies coach Robbie Deans, who described Saturday’s 27-19 loss as below Test standard, confirmed his skipper was an uncertain starter for the next fixture after a first-half injury. Basic handling errors, missed one-on-one tackles and the concession of a try from an All Blacks’ set piece left Deans in a dissatisfied mood even before he realized the extent of Pocock’s injury.
The clash at Eden Park on Saturday doubles as the second of three Tests to decide the Bledisloe Cup and the Wallabies must win in Auckland for the first time since 1986 to prevent the All Blacks from holding the title for a 10th consecutive year. “There’s a possibility he may be unavailable,” Deans said of Pocock, who received treatment at half-time on Saturday but finished the match.
Pocock though was in pain yesterday and went for scans. Pocock would be an enormous loss but Deans’s other headache is whether to retain Berrick Barnes at fly-half or recall the unpredictable and controversial Quade Cooper.
“We’ll make that decision at a later date,” Deans said.