David Pocock is back in the Australia squad.
Pocock has been out of action since March due a long-standing calf injury. The Australian back-row forward missed the entire Super Rugby campaign and Australia’s first two games of the Rugby Championship.
However, after being forced to sit out the tests against South Africa and Argentina, Pocock in back in the Wallabies selection for the Bledisloe Cup clash against New Zealand.
After failing to play in five months, Pocock is in a race to get fit before the World Cup, which begins on September, 20 in Japan. Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has not revealed if the 31-year-old will be in contention to play against the All Blacks, or if he is merely back training with the squad.
Here is the full Australian squad for the game against New Zealand:
Allan Alaalatoa (Brumbies), Rory Arnold (Brumbies), Adam Coleman (Rebels), Folau Fainga’a (Brumbies), Michael Hooper (capt) (Waratahs), Luke Jones (Rebels), Sekope Kepu (Waratahs), Tolu Latu (Waratahs), Isi Naisarani (Rebels), David Pocock (Brumbies),Tatafu Polota-Nau (Leicester), Izack Rodda (Reds), Rob Simmons (Waratahs), Lukhan Salakaia-Loto (Reds), Scott Sio (Brumbies), James Slipper (Brumbies), Taniela Tupou (Reds), Jordan Uelese (Rebels), Rob Valetini (Brumbies), Liam Wright (Reds); Adam Ashley-Cooper (Waratahs), Tom Banks (Brumbies), Kurtley Beale (Waratahs), Bernard Foley (Waratahs), Will Genia (Rebels), Dane Haylett-Petty (Rebels), Reece Hodge (Rebels), Samu Kerevi (Reds), Marika Koroibete (Rebels), Tevita Kuridrani (Brumbies), Christian Leali’ifano (Brumbies), James O’Connor (Reds), Jordan Petaia (Reds), Joe Powell (Brumbies), Matt Toomua (Rebels), Nic White (Exeter Chiefs).
The Wallabies will arrive on Sunday in Perth ahead of the first Test at Optus Stadium with the Rugby Championship crown still up for grabs. The match will be one of two Bledisloe Cup Tests in 2019, with the return fixture in Auckland on 17 August not included in the Rugby Championship schedule.
Cheika said selection decisions were becoming tougher with just three internationals left before their World Cup-opener on 21 September against Fiji. He gave no guarantees Petaia would win his first cap against the All Blacks. Petaia was on the verge of making his Wallabies debut against Italy last November before suffering a hamstring injury.
“So many lads are putting their hands up at training and at club rugby around the country, and each one of them is pushing the other to get better each day,” Cheika said. “It’s great to see Jordan back – he’s had a few games of club rugby under his belt now so we’ll look to integrate him this week in Perth and give him time to settle in.”