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Pocock on cusp of return

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David Pocock could be back very soon

David Pocock will push his case for a return in Perth’s Bledisloe Cup opener as Michael Cheika flirts with the idea of further changes to face New Zealand in a fortnight.

The world-class flanker has been sidelined by a calf injury since March but ran strong on Friday and is a chance of returning for the August 10 clash with the All Blacks.

His inclusion would add significant lustre to a side that ground down Argentina in a hard-earned 16-10 defeat in Brisbane on Saturday – just the Wallabies’ fifth victory from their last 17 Tests.

Cheika said Pocock would likely be given a chance to prove himself for what will be the side’s third-last clash before their World Cup opener in September.

“I wanted to stay away from putting a date on it, there’s been too many dates put on it already,” the coach said of the 31-year-old’s strung-out return.

“On Friday he ran at full game speed and he’s getting everything sorted out so we’ll see how he recovers.

“He needs to do a whole week with the team and once he’s done that he’ll be right.”

Cheika made five changes to both the starting side and the bench and was pleased with what he saw from No.10 Christian Lealiifano in his first game since a three-year Test absence punctuated by a battle with cancer.

Saturday was treated as a chance to “have a look” at his cattle and Cheika hinted it would remain that way against the All Blacks with Allan Ala’alatoa, Adam Coleman, Adam Ashley-Cooper and Pocock among squad members yet to see any Rugby Championship action.

“There might still be a place for a player or two that hasn’t played as yet,” Cheika said when asked if his intention was to field what he thought was his best side in Perth.

“(We’ll take) as big a step as we want to take (against New Zealand). It’s up to us.”

Australia’s forwards were impressive against a traditionally powerful Argentinian set piece, while Japan-bound Queensland favourite Will Genia was best on ground in his last Brisbane Test

“We’ve all been putting in big shifts and you just need a little bit of a pat on the back in that way to show that what you can do,” captain Michael Hooper said.

“We’ve got a little bit of a blueprint now and we need to add to that and certainly get better.”

– AAP

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David Pocock could be back very soon