x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Rugby Championship: David Pocock now an injury doubt

Aside from the errors on the field, Wallabies coach Robbie Deans also has an injury concern with is captain.

Wallabies rugby union captain David Pocock trains during his team's captains run in Sydney. Pocock was injured in Australia's loss to New Zealand to open the Rugby Championship.
Wallabies rugby union captain David Pocock trains during his team's captains run in Sydney. Pocock was injured in Australia's loss to New Zealand to open the Rugby Championship.

Australia's hopes of recovering from a chastening defeat to New Zealand and breaking a 26-year drought have been dealt a potentially severe blow by an injury to captain David Pocock.

Wallabies coach Robbie Deans confirmed his skipper was an uncertain starter for the next fixture in the Rugby Championship after a first-half injury in Saturday's 27-19 loss in Sydney.

Basic handling errors, missed one-on-one tackles and the concession of a try from an All Blacks set piece left Deans in a dissatisfied mood even before he realised the extent of Pocock's knee injury.

The clash at Eden Park on Saturday doubles as the second of three Tests to decide the Bledisloe Cup and the Wallabies must win in Auckland for the first time since 1986 to prevent the All Blacks from taking a 10th consecutive title.

"There's a possibility he may be unavailable," Deans said of Pocock, who received treatment at half-time on Saturday but finished the match. "I saw him being assessed and had a quick yarn with him. He came back and he was good. He said he had no problem carrying on and that's what he did."

Pocock though was in pain Sunday and went for scans, which confirmed he suffered damage to the articular cartilage of his right knee. He will consult a surgeon today to determine the course of action to rehabilitate the injury.

Meanwhile, Deans sifted through the rubble of a defeat that was more comprehensive than the scoreline suggested.

"Some of the errors were just unacceptable in any competition at any level," Deans said.

"It shouldn't happen at this level. We have to be better in Auckland. That wouldn't be too hard, to be fair."

Deans's other headache is whether to retain Berrick Barnes at fly-half or recall the unpredictable Quade Cooper.

Cooper fell short of expectations at the World Cup and he would receive a hostile reception at Eden Park after being accused of cheap shots on All Blacks captain Richie McCaw last year.

"We'll make that decision at a later date," Deans said.

"Berrick did pretty well under the circumstances, kicked superbly. We weren't quite able to secure enough momentum to make his job easier.

"When we did, he profited."

Kurtley Beale was the chief culprit on the Wallabies error count but vice-captain Will Genia said his fullback should be spared criticism for coughing up possession and missing the tackle that allowed Israel Dagg's opening try.

"He made errors but we all did," Genia said.

"They all compounded to put us under pressure.

"Obviously it was uncharacteristic from Kurtley, and you can comfort him, but it is a group effort. We all made mistakes and we're all disappointed."

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