For a fierce competitor like David Pocock, being so close to returning from injury on the Wallabies’ European tour has been extremely frustrating.
Pocock is set to make his long-awaited comeback from injury in Australia’s final game of the four-Test tour against Wales in Cardiff on Saturday (Sunday AEDT).
The champion flanker has found it especially difficult on game day when the reserves split from the match day squad.
Brumbies recruit Pocock hasn’t played since injuring his knee in the Wallabies’ loss to New Zealand in the opening Bledisloe Cup Test in Sydney in August.
He was expected to return against England in game two of the European tour in London but strained a calf muscle at training in Paris a week earlier.
The No.7 admits he’s not a great spectator and can’t wait to lineup against Wales after a couple of false starts on the tour.
“It’s been hugely frustrating but that’s the way it goes. It didn’t go according to plan and you just have to move on from it,” Pocock told AAP.
“I guess it’s one of those things where players outside the 23 do all the training then towards the end of the week do some extra fitness.
“Then on game day you can’t add too much to the group and you’ve just got to let them do their thing. That’s hard splitting from them.
“I’m very nervous and tense on game day as a spectator and I just want to get out there.”
Following a quiet week in London, Pocock had a few searching runs in Florence before watching the Wallabies beat Italy 22-19 last weekend from the stands.
“I’m feeling a lot better. I got through a fair bit of running in Florence and this week has been about adding the contact side of things.”
Wales lost 33-10 to New Zealand last weekend to slump to a sixth consecutive Test loss.
Prior to that they were humbled 26-19 by Samoa.
But Pocock, who is likely to start from the bench at Millennium Stadium, was impressed with the Welsh effort in Cardiff last Saturday.
“They were a different team against New Zealand,” Pocock said.
“The intensity was up. They lost two players in the first minute and they were still able to pressure New Zealand.”
Pocock captained the Wallabies in the 3-0 home series whitewash against the Welsh earlier this year.
All of the matches were tight in Australia and Pocock is expecting more of the same this weekend.
“They’re a team with threats all over the park. Their set piece is strong and they bring a lot of change-ups to the regular northern hemisphere teams,” he said.