Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has backed injured flanker David Pocock to play a part in the Rugby Championship and prove his readiness for the World Cup.
A critical figure if Australia are to mount a challenge for the Webb Ellis Cup in Japan, Pocock hasn’t played for four months since straining a calf muscle on Brumbies duty, the injury ultimately leading to his retirement from Super Rugby.
However, the 31-year-old has consistently set his sights on what would be a probable Test swansong at the World Cup and Cheika suggested a long-awaited return is close at hand.
While Pocock’s name wasn’t among the 34 in the Rugby Championship squad announced on Thursday, he looks likely to play a part.
“It’s been a bit of a battle, but it looks like he’s turned a bit of a corner there so I’m quite positive about having him back at some stage during the Rugby Championship,” Cheika said.
“But as opposed to putting a day on it, we’ll just wait until the next mil estone and go from there.”
Cheika said Coleman (shoulder) is a decent chance to be added to the squad who prepare for the Pumas Test.
Getting closer is 89-Test hooker Polota-Nau, who is five weeks into an estimated eight-week recovery window from ankle surgery and “will be in the picture after that”, according to Cheika.
No return date has been given for Samu (hamstring), who impressed over the final stages of the Brumbies’ season, while exciting young attacker Petaia (foot) is due to return to Brisbane club rugby and then “come into calculations”.
David Pocock may yet feature in the 2019 Rugby Championship – but you won’t see him again in Super Rugby:
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