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Pocock assesses World Cup chances

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David Pocock gives frank assessment of Wallabies' World Cup chances

Australian star flanker David Pocock admits the Wallabies are going to have to improve significantly if they are to win the Rugby World Cup in November.

Australia endured its worst international season in six decades last year, winning just four of 13 games and losing to England for a record sixth successive time.

Coach Michael Cheika was spared the axe but his assistant Stephen Larkham got sacked, and a new three-man selection panel was installed.

The Wallabies have won the World Cup twice but not since 1999.

Australian Super Rugby sides have improved this year since being reduced to four teams and after enduring a 40-game losing streak against New Zealand opposition over the previous two seasons.

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@davidpocock has announced he will retire from Super Rugby at the season's end but still hopes to play at the Rugby World Cup for the @wallabies. #rugbyaustralia #brumbiesrugby #superrugby #aussierugby #rwc #rugbyworldcup #rugby

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Pocock announced his retirement from the Brumbies and Super Rugby on Tuesday in a bid to overcome a niggling calf injury and play at the World Cup.

The 31-year-old conceded the Wallabies will have to improve across the board to compete at the tournament in Japan.

“There is no way around it, we’re going to have to improve a lot,” Pocock said.

“Last year was a tough year but not for lack of effort. We’ve been building a bit of a base and working hard as Super Rugby teams and when we come together that’s the challenge.

“It’s a World Cup year, it’s very exciting and every rugby player’s dream to be part of a World Cup and every rugby player’s dream to hold up that cup at the end.

“If you look around the world, I can’t remember a World Cup that has so many teams in really good form. I think it’s going to be a really tough tournament, so that’s very exciting.”

World Cup hopeful and NSW Waratahs prop Tom Robertson believes Australia can take home the Webb Ellis Cup, even if Pocock doesn’t recover in time.

“Losing a guy like ‘Poey’ is pretty big. He’s a great player,” Robertson said.

“But in saying that, No.8s – because he normally plays eight when ‘Hoops’ (Wallabies captain Michael Hooper) is playing seven – they’ve got a few good No.8s.

“Isi Naisarani is one down in Melbourne who has been in a few Wallaby camps and we’ve seen him over the last few weeks, he’s been playing some great footy.

“So we’re going to have to watch him on the weekend and ‘Cheik’ might reward him for that if ‘Poey’ is not fit for the World Cup.”

David Pocock’s retirement press conference:

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David Pocock gives frank assessment of Wallabies' World Cup chances