At the eleventh hour, as the Wallabies got ready to take on the Springboks in the Rugby Championship 3rd round, back-rower David Pocock has been forced to withdraw from the squad, and give way for Pete Samu.
The Brumbies flanker withdrew from the squad citing discomfort in his neck stemming from a grueling and brutal Rugby Championship round 2 match against New Zealand where the All Blacks targeted the breakdown specialist with a neck-roll tactic for which the All Blacks went away scot-free for the illegal move.
David has been replaced by Crusaders giant, Pete Samu, who before Friday, wasn’t even in the match day 23. Samu, on 5 tests, gets his first ever Wallabies start, ahead of back-rower Ned Hanigan who stays on the bench.
Wallabies skipper, who is clearly not amused about how World Rugby and SANZAAR are ignoring different personalities call to examine the dangerous neck-roll tactic is still pleased with the inclusion of Pete Samu.
“I’m very disappointed for David and the team, he’s been in outstanding form all year and he’s a big leader. Even just for him – he really wants to be out there, he’s given himself every chance, he’s been ticking all the boxes but it hasn’t come to light,” he said.
“It’s unfortunate but Pete’s coming in, Pete Samu and he’s been doing a great job in the cameos he’s been having off the bench. It’s a different combination there of course. I’ve been very impressed with Pete and his performances throughout the year.”
With Malcolm Marx on the bench for the Springboks, Pocock was definitely going to be a fetching winner for the Wallabies but skipper Hooper admits he and the Wallabies are going to have change tactics.
“It’s a straight swap just in terms of how our plays go and how we look to change the game. Without changing too much, he comes in and fits in that role nicely,” he said.
Wallabies to take on the Springboks
1. Scott Sio (47 Tests)
2. Tatafu Polota-Nau (84 Tests)
3. Allan Alaalatoa (25 Tests)
4. Rory Arnold (15 Tests)
5. Adam Coleman (25 Tests)
6. Lukhan Tui (9 Tests)
7. Michael Hooper (c) (84 Tests)
8. Pete Samu (5 Tests)
9. Will Genia (92 Tests)
10. Kurtley Beale (76 Tests)
11. Marika Koroibete (13 Tests)
12. Matt Toomua (35 Tests)
13. Reece Hodge (29 Tests)
14. Dane Haylett-Petty (23 Tests)
15. Israel Folau (66 Tests)
16. Folau Faingaa (1 Test)
17. Tom Robertson (23 Tests)
18. Taniela Tupou (4 Tests)
19. Izack Rodda (9 Tests)
20. Ned Hanigan (13 Tests)
21. Joe Powell (4 Tests)
22. Bernard Foley (60 Tests)
23. Jack Maddocks (2 Tests)