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Deans makes four changes for Cardiff

By Russell Jackson, Russell Jackson is a Roar Guru

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158 Have your say

    The Welsh may have peaked too early for a realistic shot at the Rugby World Cup. (AAP Image/Paul Miller)

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    Robbie Deans has made four changes to his starting lineup for the Wallabies’ finale against Wales with David Pocock making his long-awaited return in the run-on side.

    Australia play at Millennium Stadium in Cardiff on Saturday (Sunday AEDT) in what will be captain Nathan Sharpe’s 116th and final Test.

    Second-rower Kane Douglas makes his comeback from a knee injury for the suspended Sitaleki Timani while hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau replaces Stephen Moore after sitting last weekend’s 22-19 win over Italy in Florence.

    Halfback Nick Phipps returns to the starting team after going on as a replacement for No.9 Brett Sheehan who suffered a tour-ending ankle injury against Italy.

    World class No.7 Pocock hasn’t played since he injured his knee against New Zealand in August.

    He then strained a calf muscle at training in Paris in the first week of the tour.

    Deans is thrilled to welcome back Pocock for such a big game for Australia as they look to send Sharpe out in style.

    “David is one of the best in the world as a player, and is growing every day as a leader, so naturally we are delighted to have him back,” Deans said.

    “While he has continued to contribute off the field, this tour has been one of frustration for him, but we were not prepared to take any risks and potentially compromise either the player or the team, in terms of his fitness.”

    “The upside to the wait is that his return comes at a time where we need fresh energy, as was evident at times during our Test in Italy last weekend.”

    Pocock’s deputy Michael Hooper, who has been outstanding on the tour, is expected to play a significant part in the game.

    Hooper will start on the bench but Deans may look to play him and Pocock together as he did in the 3-0 series win over Wales in Australia in June.

    “Michael (Hooper) has had a massive year and it was evident that for him, as well as some others, it was starting to take its toll last weekend,” Deans said.

    “He’s earned the right to finish the year on the park. Having the option of working him alongside David at some point during the contest is a win-win for us.”

    Douglas didn’t accompany the Wallabies to Italy.

    He remained in London with his mother who is in hospital recovering from a stroke suffered on a flight to Europe to watch her son play.

    “Kane is ready to go,” Deans said.

    “It’s obviously been a trying time for his whole family recently, but his dedication both to his family and his career is clear, and a testament to the character of the man.”

    Waratahs No.9 Brendan McKibbin, who only arrived in Cardiff on Tuesday to replace Sheehan, is on the bench and in line for a first Test cap.

    Wallabies team (15-1): Berrick Barnes, Nick Cummins, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Ben Tapuai, Drew Mitchell, Kurtley Beale, Nick Phipps, Wycliff Palu, David Pocock, Scott Higginbotham, Nathan Sharpe (capt), Kane Douglas, Ben Alexander, Tatafu Polota Nau, Benn Robinson. Res: Stephen Moore, James Slipper, Sekope Kepu, Dave Dennis, Michael Hooper, Brendan McKibbin, Mike Harris, Digby Ioane.

    © AAP 2018

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    The Crowd Says (158)

    • Roar Guru

      November 30th 2012 @ 4:05am
      Shop said | November 30th 2012 @ 4:05am | ! Report

      I backed Italy with a 3.5 points start last weekend so I welcomes the 2nd half capitulation against Italy.
      Really tough one to pick this weekend though. Australia should be able to finish the season on high, but they have become more unpredictable than the French. Think I’ll keep my money in my pocket this weekend.

    • November 30th 2012 @ 4:12am
      krisl said | November 30th 2012 @ 4:12am | ! Report

      Wales 33 Australia 9

      • Columnist

        November 30th 2012 @ 4:37am
        David Lord said | November 30th 2012 @ 4:37am | ! Report

        Well done Robbie Deans, Michael Hooper is no David Pocock yet, if ever.

        • November 30th 2012 @ 5:06am
          kingplaymaker said | November 30th 2012 @ 5:06am | ! Report

          Hi David, I think the problem with Hooper is the lack of turnovers and to some extent muscularity in defence: the first area is probably what Cheika should spend the entire year working on.

          One curiosity to my eyes was that each seemed more effective against different teams. Hooper’s fast and straight running clearly troubled the All Blacks more than Pocock, who they seem good at nullifying. On the other hand against a big-bully pack like France (in contrast to refined All Black unit), Hooper was nullifyed and Pocock could well have undermined the French ability to rule the breakdown by turning them over (as well as making strong tackles).

          Perhaps all I’m saying is that against lighter, more skilled packs one type of player is better, while against smash and bash power units another is. More people prefer to think that there is always a ‘best’ player against whatever team is played, but I’m not so sure. I remember Brian Ashton calling up the monster Joe Worthesly once or twice just to make big tackles against physical opposition, and then dropping him for other teams.

          Of course this is all very speculative and I could be completely wrong πŸ™‚

          • November 30th 2012 @ 5:30am
            AndyMack said | November 30th 2012 @ 5:30am | ! Report

            Hooper was amazing against the Poms. Watched the game with a saffa friend who didnt know much about the Aussies and was amazed by Hooper. His defence was amazing, one try saving tackle in particular pretty much got us over the line.

          • November 30th 2012 @ 5:54am
            Bazza Allblack Supporter said | November 30th 2012 @ 5:54am | ! Report

            Totally agree

          • November 30th 2012 @ 7:31am
            Blinky Bill of Bellingen said | November 30th 2012 @ 7:31am | ! Report

            KPM – Interesting & thought provoking comments about Hoops & Poey. I’ll be thinking about that when I watch the Wales test.

            Speaking of which, …….Wales……. God almighty after Florence I thought I was over the Wallabies for ever. But here we are in the build-up a week later and I’m already presuming I’ll watch them. Why do we do it to ourselves? πŸ˜‰

            • Roar Guru

              November 30th 2012 @ 8:03am
              JDP said | November 30th 2012 @ 8:03am | ! Report

              We are gluttons for the pain. Also KPM I will make this point, I wonder if the turnovers achieved by 7’s outweigh the number of penalties (and often points)?

              I just don’t think contesting the breakdown is really worth it from a statistical perspective, or at the least, any team needs to be highly selective of which breakdowns it attacks.

              The Wallabies are ATTROCIOUS at giving silly penalties away at the breakdown.

              • November 30th 2012 @ 9:23am
                kingplaymaker said | November 30th 2012 @ 9:23am | ! Report

                Blinky Bill and John I think without a breakdown specialist a big pack can get on a roll with impunity as there’s no danger of getting turned over, and the team can also run the ball from around the field as again there’s no danger, or rather less. Playing Hooper for all his virtues means the French or Italian pack can plough on safetly or all over the field. Of course though some packs, such as the All Blacks, are better at dealing with Pocock and not so good when there’s a fast back row forward running at them.

              • November 30th 2012 @ 4:26pm
                Go_the_Wannabe's said | November 30th 2012 @ 4:26pm | ! Report

                Someone out there must be able to do a simple analysis of turnovers versus penalties given away for both Hooper and Pocock????

          • November 30th 2012 @ 8:36am
            Ben.S said | November 30th 2012 @ 8:36am | ! Report

            ‘I remember Brian Ashton calling up the monster Joe Worthesly once or twice just to make big tackles against physical opposition, and then dropping him for other teams.’

            Nope. Brian Ashton didn’t call up Worsley for his defensive qualities, the opposite. Ashton called up Worsley because he believed he could be a big ball carrying 7. Martin Johnson selected Worsley at 7 to cut down Jamie Roberts from the openside. That is the difference.

          • Roar Guru

            November 30th 2012 @ 9:40am
            B-Rock said | November 30th 2012 @ 9:40am | ! Report

            Very good points KPM

            As an idea, why not drop Higgers and play both? A Hooper/Pocock/Palu back row would be very effective everywhere but the lineout.

            I cant see what Higgers offers around the park that Hoops doesnt, Hooper plays much tighter than Higgers and is quicker in the loose when the opportunities come.

            Hooper has been one of the top 3 players for the Wallabies in virtually every test hes played. To put him on the bench and bring back Higgers who is out of form seems like a downgrade to me. Pocock is the Wallabies best player by some distance so I cant fathom anyone saying Hooper should start over Pocock

            • November 30th 2012 @ 10:54am
              rl said | November 30th 2012 @ 10:54am | ! Report

              B-Rock, weakening the lineout seems to be the major concern by leaving either Higgers or Dennis out, but otherwise, I’m all for it!

              • November 30th 2012 @ 10:56am
                Jutsie said | November 30th 2012 @ 10:56am | ! Report

                its a bit of a quandary but my feeling is poey and hooper are so far ahead of those two that we should stuff the line out and play to our strengths, besides there are so many more breakdowns in a game than lineouts anyway.

              • November 30th 2012 @ 11:11am
                Bakkies said | November 30th 2012 @ 11:11am | ! Report

                Pick an 8 that can jump in the lineout that’s what the French do when they pick two short flankers.

              • Roar Guru

                November 30th 2012 @ 1:45pm
                B-Rock said | November 30th 2012 @ 1:45pm | ! Report

                Is Samo fit? He is very effective at lineout time

                How about a starting back row of Hooper/Pocock/Samo, then bring Palu off the bench at the 50min mark

                I’d prefer Higgers out of the squad but he could come off the bench in stead of Palu to sure up the line out in the 2nd half.

            • November 30th 2012 @ 11:36am
              kingplaymaker said | November 30th 2012 @ 11:36am | ! Report

              B-Rock although Higginbotham provides pace and size, Hooper and Pocock also provide both those qualities between them (Hooper the pace, Pocock the size) so the argument that they would be effective together is strong. Both have a tremendous effect at international level too, which is something Higginbotham has yet to achieve.

              What’s more with TPN, Palu and Timani/Douglas playing, there is so much power in elsewhere in the pack that you can lose some at 7/6. So I think it’s defintely worth a shot.

              • November 30th 2012 @ 1:17pm
                rl said | November 30th 2012 @ 1:17pm | ! Report

                KPM, I agree with your thinking, but Timani & Palu better start working on lineouts, because we need 3 credible targets.

              • November 30th 2012 @ 2:39pm
                kingplaymaker said | November 30th 2012 @ 2:39pm | ! Report

                Could be a long wait before they improve in that area rl….

        • November 30th 2012 @ 5:52am
          Justin2 said | November 30th 2012 @ 5:52am | ! Report

          Yes great to see a player back in the starting 15 who hasn’t played in 3 months.

          The bench would have been more appropriate, though he would have been forgotten there πŸ˜‰

          • November 30th 2012 @ 6:00am
            kingplaymaker said | November 30th 2012 @ 6:00am | ! Report

            Justin see my answer below of Pocock.

            • November 30th 2012 @ 7:06am
              Justin2 said | November 30th 2012 @ 7:06am | ! Report

              KPM – i must have missed something. Does Pocock need the experience prior to the Lions tour which is 6 months away…..

              • November 30th 2012 @ 7:13am
                kingplaymaker said | November 30th 2012 @ 7:13am | ! Report

                Probably not experience but an opportunity to play again so that test rugby is a less distant memory.

              • November 30th 2012 @ 7:16am
                Justin2 said | November 30th 2012 @ 7:16am | ! Report

                Your reaching big time…

              • November 30th 2012 @ 10:57am
                rl said | November 30th 2012 @ 10:57am | ! Report

                Sure he needs the experience – I mean, how often is he going to be able to play Wales umpteen times in the space of 12 months? Put THAT in your CV.

                Anyway, lets just do what we do with Drew Mitchell and give him the opportunity to re-injure himself properly.

        • November 30th 2012 @ 6:37am
          sph45 said | November 30th 2012 @ 6:37am | ! Report

          You really have an eye for subtlety don’t you David… Your comments are like your posts – full of errors, misrepresentations, and largely trolling. And in this instance your comments are quite disrespectful to Hooper who has had a cracking tour.

          • November 30th 2012 @ 7:17am
            David Lord said | November 30th 2012 @ 7:17am | ! Report

            sph45, you are like so many Roarers when it comes to talent, out of sight is out of mind. Have you forgotten all the magificent games David Pocock has played to be spoken of in the same breath as the best – Richie McCaw. Michael Hooper isn’t in that class yet, he has played many wonderful games, but he has been in sight, and not out of mind like the injured Pocock.

            • November 30th 2012 @ 7:28am
              Justin2 said | November 30th 2012 @ 7:28am | ! Report

              No one doubts Pococks ability but after 3 months of no football the wise move would and should be to bring him off the bench.

              Personally, and I said at the time, he shouldn’t have toured anyway. Get right for 2013, it’s a big year.

              • November 30th 2012 @ 8:39am
                Jutsie said | November 30th 2012 @ 8:39am | ! Report

                Gill should probably have started if anything as hooper really needs a rest, a young body like that playing so many games in his first year is bound to breakdown sooner or later. The problem is its a double edged sword for deans, he knows he should be looking after player welfare but he also knows he is under the pump and neeeds the result. Big conflict of interests between short term and long term planning.

              • November 30th 2012 @ 9:08am
                Justin2 said | November 30th 2012 @ 9:08am | ! Report

                Juts I agree. Deans is doing exactly that, putting himself before the bigger picture.

              • Roar Guru

                November 30th 2012 @ 9:08am
                JDP said | November 30th 2012 @ 9:08am | ! Report

                Justin2 this is quite honestly the equivalent of saying when McCaw comes back from an injury allowing Sam Cane to play over him. Pocock is talismanic, recognised as one of the best players in the world over a prolonged term and coming close to uor equivalent to McCaw, and you would rather have Hooper?

              • November 30th 2012 @ 9:16am
                Justin2 said | November 30th 2012 @ 9:16am | ! Report

                No John you have missed the point. I want Pocock back, I believe he is a better player, However the fact is he is not match fit. His last game was in August.

                He should come off the bench but frankly shouldn’t have toured. He would have one of the highest workloads in the country, when does he get a break?

              • November 30th 2012 @ 9:20am
                eagleJack said | November 30th 2012 @ 9:20am | ! Report

                Not to mention JP that Pocock would have made the call 100%. He’d be itching to get back out there and do what he does best – play rugby. Geez some people’s hatred of Deans is clouding their otherwise sound knowledge of the game.

              • November 30th 2012 @ 9:22am
                Justin2 said | November 30th 2012 @ 9:22am | ! Report

                I dont think its unreasonable he come off the bench after 3 or more months out, is that so difficult to comprehend?

              • November 30th 2012 @ 9:28am
                Jutsie said | November 30th 2012 @ 9:28am | ! Report

                Yeah justin to extent i agree he is putting his short term future ahead of the big picture but I cant really judge him. Im not in his position so wouldnt know what the pressure is like to get results. Regardless of what your intentions are your subconscious would be telling you to play guys like poey ahead of guys like gill to ensure u get the result and keep ur job/pay packet safe.

              • November 30th 2012 @ 11:03am
                rl said | November 30th 2012 @ 11:03am | ! Report

                Jutsie, Deans’ job security is something I hadn’t thought of! That’s not some attack by me on Deans BTW – but I can completely understand that he would want his best players on the park for this one. Unlike some other mis-guided commentators on here, I’m not daring to suggest that Hooper is a better player than Poey, I’m just worried that its going to be yet another case of a player going in half-baked.

              • Roar Guru

                November 30th 2012 @ 12:57pm
                Who Needs Melon said | November 30th 2012 @ 12:57pm | ! Report

                Guys, guys, guys. Lets stop arguing…

                It’s not like we have a recent track record of bringing players back from injury before they are ready and match fit, is it? Oh, that’s right – err….

                Well we know Deans is very astute with his use of the bench and won’t leave players on the field for too long. Oh, err…

                Let’s just agree to cross our fingers for Poey.

              • November 30th 2012 @ 1:56pm
                rl said | November 30th 2012 @ 1:56pm | ! Report

                crossing all toes too… lets hope he eases my worries and has a blinder.

          • November 30th 2012 @ 6:21pm
            Dan said | November 30th 2012 @ 6:21pm | ! Report

            He is a self fulfilling prophecy ; )

    • Roar Guru

      November 30th 2012 @ 4:37am
      Jiggles said | November 30th 2012 @ 4:37am | ! Report

      What is TPN doing there? Dumb move picking Pocock, rushing him back from injury for the last game of the year.

      • Roar Guru

        November 30th 2012 @ 9:09am
        JDP said | November 30th 2012 @ 9:09am | ! Report

        He is hardly been rushed – inside word from the camp is that he could have played in the first game, but got a minor calf strain and he could have played in the Italy and England game. He has been, frustratingly, nursed back.

        • November 30th 2012 @ 10:59am
          rl said | November 30th 2012 @ 10:59am | ! Report

          sure, that non-frustrating rushing Mitchell and Beale back in worked a treat didn’t it?

          • Roar Guru

            November 30th 2012 @ 12:00pm
            JDP said | November 30th 2012 @ 12:00pm | ! Report

            Agree I quite enjoyed the stellar shape that Beale was in when coming from the Rebels. *heavy sarcasm*

    • November 30th 2012 @ 4:53am
      kingplaymaker said | November 30th 2012 @ 4:53am | ! Report

      TPN is there because of his superior physical impact to Moore, as shown by Moore’s limited effect against the muscular Italian pack last week.

      Pocock’s there because it’s the last chance for him to play a test match before the Lions series.

      • November 30th 2012 @ 12:25pm
        Sage said | November 30th 2012 @ 12:25pm | ! Report

        Agree TPN is more “headfirst kamikaze oh dear I’ve concussed myself again” than Moore but throwing the ball straight and smarter ball carrying is pretty important too. Especially against Wales

    • November 30th 2012 @ 5:58am
      TheGreyGhost said | November 30th 2012 @ 5:58am | ! Report

      Looks like typical one-up-manship from Deans.

      NZ make 3 changes.

      Deans makes 4.

      • November 30th 2012 @ 6:04am
        AndyMack said | November 30th 2012 @ 6:04am | ! Report

        we win by 1. happy…..

      • November 30th 2012 @ 7:08am
        Justin2 said | November 30th 2012 @ 7:08am | ! Report

        GG – I’d love it is Deans could make 4 non injury changes during the match. After all it’s almost Xmas, we can wish for one miracle this year can’t we?

        • November 30th 2012 @ 1:48pm
          Funk said | November 30th 2012 @ 1:48pm | ! Report

          I can just hear Robbie’s reply…..Bah-Humbug!

      • November 30th 2012 @ 5:42pm
        peterlala said | November 30th 2012 @ 5:42pm | ! Report


    • November 30th 2012 @ 6:59am
      Dave said | November 30th 2012 @ 6:59am | ! Report

      Hooper is the best find in Australian rugby over the last few years. Already a strong ball runner and an abrasive defender. More turnovers will come!!

      • November 30th 2012 @ 9:29am
        formeropenside said | November 30th 2012 @ 9:29am | ! Report

        dont forget the hands like feet though

        • November 30th 2012 @ 2:18pm
          Short-Blind said | November 30th 2012 @ 2:18pm | ! Report

          FOS you are constantly stating this but ‘ show me the money’. Other than that one pill he dropped in his first test his hands have been fine. He is an ex 12 and has very adequate hands for 7. Pocock is a very good test player who should be in the mix week to week depending on opposition & tactics (RD?) However Hooper has shown more in his first 7 or 8 tests than Poey ever did. He is only 21and with more development will overtake Pocock (in total ability and effectiveness) IMO. Sure he needs a rest now after carrying the Wallaby pack around on his young shoulders for a few months πŸ™ but to leave him out from the run on side when both are fully fit would be almost criminal. Now watch the talentless selector RD do just that…..

      • November 30th 2012 @ 10:43am
        Markus said | November 30th 2012 @ 10:43am | ! Report

        The turnovers won’t come until the Wallabies pack start hunting as a team week in week out.
        Hooper is a strong pilferer, as demonstrated this Super season (2nd in the competition, behind Gill interestingly), but Pocock is in a different league in that aspect of his game.

        fos, has Hooper dropped a single catch since his debut?

        • November 30th 2012 @ 10:47am
          Jutsie said | November 30th 2012 @ 10:47am | ! Report

          Ive said it before, the way the pack is playing atm pocock is THE most important wallaby but if the rest of the pack did their job at the breakdown then you would say its really a toss up between hooper and pocock as to who starts.

        • November 30th 2012 @ 11:02am
          formeropenside said | November 30th 2012 @ 11:02am | ! Report

          more than I can count, but watch the 10 mins he was on in Match 2 v Wales when he nearly lost the Test for the Wallabies singlehanded (well, doublehanded actually, but you get what I mean).

          • November 30th 2012 @ 11:05am
            Jutsie said | November 30th 2012 @ 11:05am | ! Report

            I think markus was referring to that game when he said “since his debut” we all know that its that game you are referring too but that was almost 6 months and umpteen tests ago, put forth some examples in recent games please or stop harping on about one moment in a bloke’s 2nd test.

          • November 30th 2012 @ 11:56am
            Markus said | November 30th 2012 @ 11:56am | ! Report

            Yep it was match 2 I was thinking of not match 1.
            One genuine blunder, with the next a shortrange bullet pass to the face I don’t think anyone in the team would have taken.
            Hardly something you could call a trend.

        • Roar Guru

          November 30th 2012 @ 12:09pm
          jeznez said | November 30th 2012 @ 12:09pm | ! Report

          Markus, he dropped two late in one of the June tests against Wales. FOS likes to focus on that. I haven’t noticed him drop one since.

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