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Pocock’s injury is serious – what now for the Wallabies?

David Lord Columnist

By David Lord, David Lord is a Roar Expert

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43 Have your say

    David Pocock was considered one of Australia's best before his injury lay off. (Image: AAP/Lukas Coch)

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    The most sickening sight so far in the Super Rugby tournament was David Pocock on crutches last night at Canberra Stadium.

    The champion flanker lasted just 13 minutes against the Waratahs before he was writhing in agony with a suspected ruptured ACL joint.

    As scans confirmed today, that’s the Lions series and the rest of the tournament on the sideline. Anything up to nine months.

    That’s a three-way tragedy for Pocock, the Brumbies, and the Wallabies.

    Surely the litany of injuries last season (35 in total), isn’t going to be repeated in 2013?

    Former skippers James Horwill, and Will Genia, still haven’t reappeared for the Reds this season after long-term injuries, Anthony Fainga’a has just resumed.

    Berrick Barnes hasn’t reappeared for the Waratahs yet either.

    Kurtley Beale has broken his hand and will be out for a month, and is carrying a shoulder injury that must be operated on at the end of the season, if not before.

    Drew Mitchell is injury-prone, while Digby Ioane, Adam Ashley-Cooper, and Tatafu Polota-Nau have question marks hanging over them too.

    If the carnage continues the Lions series will be devastated. The Wallabies must be at full strength to make it memorable.

    Wallaby coach Robbie Deans has some high quality praying to do to stop the rot.

    It’s early days in the Super Rugby, and the loss of Pocock for the Brumbies will be felt. Last night George Smith returned to the capital for the first time in three years and brought the house down, not only in applause on entry, but the way he played.

    The champions never lose it.

    Smith will offset the Pocock loss to a point, but coach Jake White would be a whole lot happier if he had both on them on deck.

    The Reds won’t beat many good sides until Horwill and Genia are back in action and firing.

    They are winning, but winning ugly, and that’s not the Ewen McKenzie way.

    The Waratahs are a cot case. They are trying to follow coach Michael Cheika’s open rugby plans, but their trying isn’t leading to tries.

    In fact that’s the question, where are the men-in-blue heading? The answer is buried in their own minds.

    One things for sure, the Tahs will not win tough games without a quality nine and 10.

    Brendan McKibbin and Bernard Foley aren’t up to it, and Cheika obviously has recognised the fact having already signed Test half Nick Phipps from the Rebels for next season.

    Not that Phipps is a world-beater, but he’s number three to Genia, and the Brumbies Nick White.

    The Waratahs should never have let Kurtley Beale go, now they are paying a high price for their folly.

    But it’s the high price Australian rugby is paying today with the David Pocock injury.

    David Lord
    David Lord

    David Lord was deeply involved in two of the biggest sporting stories - World Series Cricket in 1977 and professional rugby in 1983. After managing Jeff Thomson and Viv Richards during WSC, in 1983 David signed 208 of the best rugby players from Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and France to play an international pro circuit. The concept didn?t get off the ground, but it did force the IRB to get cracking and bring in the World Rugby Cup, now one of the world?s great sporting spectacles

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    The Crowd Says (43)

    • March 10th 2013 @ 9:22pm
      Worlds biggest said | March 10th 2013 @ 9:22pm | ! Report

      Huge blow losing Pocock, our top tier players seem to be incredibly injury prone, all the usual suspects plus some key players struggling for form and it’s not a good lead into the Lions. George Smith is a must if he can get approval from Suntory. I’d love to see Sharpey come out of retirement too.

    • Roar Guru

      March 10th 2013 @ 9:30pm
      biltongbek said | March 10th 2013 @ 9:30pm | ! Report

      I vote for Gill.

    • March 10th 2013 @ 9:37pm
      Billy Bob said | March 10th 2013 @ 9:37pm | ! Report

      Re Smith and Sharpey…. We could also see what Eales and Ella are up to?

      • March 11th 2013 @ 10:04am
        Hopperdoggy said | March 11th 2013 @ 10:04am | ! Report

        Mr Lynagh’s recovered from his scare. Maybe he’s up for it?

    • March 10th 2013 @ 9:45pm
      Worlds biggest said | March 10th 2013 @ 9:45pm | ! Report

      Billy Bob, do you honestly think Smith won’t bring a lot to the table, and our second row stocks aren’t exactly playing the house down either. I’d pick Smith & Sharpe in a nanosecond, have you got a better alternative ?

      • March 10th 2013 @ 10:06pm
        Hightackle said | March 10th 2013 @ 10:06pm | ! Report

        Douglas, Fardy, Neville, Pyle, Simmons, Timani, Horwill, Gill, Hooper.
        Aust has lack of depth in quite a few positions but 7 and lock are not one of them.

        • Roar Guru

          March 10th 2013 @ 10:17pm
          Rob na Champassak said | March 10th 2013 @ 10:17pm | ! Report

          But if none of those players are better than Smith or Sharpe, who cares how many of them there are?

          Sharpe is no longer playing Super Rugby, so last season’s form notwithstanding, you couldn’t really argue that he’s in better form than any of those locks. But Smith? He’s back, and if he’s half as good as he was when he left, he’d be a shoe-in.

          • March 10th 2013 @ 10:53pm
            Hightackle said | March 10th 2013 @ 10:53pm | ! Report

            I believe some of those players are better than Sharpe and Smith being signed overseas does complicate things and you are kidding yourself if you think it doesnt.
            Aust has 3 world class 7s without Smith. One is now injured but I cant see Robbie opting to forget the future and select what essentially is a blow in.
            I would like to see Smith play well and play for Australia but I dont think he should or will unless Hooper or Gill get injured.
            Also remember Smith may not be up to it, sure he played well in 1 game against an underperforming Tahs but can he keep it up?
            This is all reactionary and is not the way a coach will be thinking, he will be watching carefully for another 12 or more weeks rather than basing decisions on a couple of games or 65 mins of 1 game.
            Everybody needs to calm down and stop saying that players “must” be picked based on a week to week basis.
            Deans will take into account form, experience and ability of players over the season and if guys like Mogg demand selection…he may still not pick him becuz the Lions series is not the time for blooding players.
            Everyone should expect Deans to play the best team he can possibly pick in order to beat the Lions and that means picking tried and tested players who are in form and not a bunch of untested players who some fans think should play.
            If Deans had a couple of matches before the Lions series you could expect him to trial Mogg, Mowen or Tomane but the Lions series is not the time to see if players can make that step.
            There may be one or 2 debutants on the bench but I wouldnt bank on it and you know what, thats what a good coach should do.

            • March 11th 2013 @ 10:57am
              WOLF said | March 11th 2013 @ 10:57am | ! Report

              100% agree.

            • March 11th 2013 @ 11:08am
              Red Kev said | March 11th 2013 @ 11:08am | ! Report

              In case you hadn’t noticed the Wallabies don’t play any “easy” tests, not even on the EoYT. The time for blooding players is when they are better than the incumbent – that is what a good coach does.
              If Mogg’s form holds that will be in June against the Lions.
              If Gill’s form holds that will be in June against the Lions.

              • March 12th 2013 @ 12:44am
                Hightackle said | March 12th 2013 @ 12:44am | ! Report

                Who said anything about easy.
                Seriously Red Kev I dont think you believe half the stuff you say. You cant. Imo its just you being bias and anti Deans at all costs. No coach is going to blood players to any great extent in such a high pressure series as the Lions. No coach.
                Traditionaly players are eased in bit by bit against teams like Italy, Samoa, Fiji, Arg, Ire or on the eoyt genrally etc. Its not that those tests are easy but they do lend themselves to players being blooded. Players dont get blooded much in Lions series or WC finals Kev.
                Now Kev you can deny reality and pretend this is not what normally happens to support your (yawn) bias against mean ol nasty Deans or you can get real.

              • March 12th 2013 @ 12:50am
                Hightackle said | March 12th 2013 @ 12:50am | ! Report

                Gill has been blooded and around the Wallaby set up for a year now and Mogg may get a run but if its him or JOC for example, Mogg will miss out.

            • Roar Guru

              March 11th 2013 @ 12:34pm
              Rob na Champassak said | March 11th 2013 @ 12:34pm | ! Report

              ‘I believe some of those players are better than Sharpe and Smith’.

              Well, Sharpe is not playing Super Rugby anymore, and Smith has only had one game back, so it’s early days; but you know, I think I can still nominate that first line of yours for ‘Most Ridiculous Use Of Hyperbole On The Roar Not Concerning Quade Cooper’.

              Sharpe’s form last season made him far and away the best lock in Australia. George Smith himself is the most decorated Australian Rugby player in the modern game. Not a single player that you listed is even approaching the kind of record that either of these players can boast of.

              Your argument seems to infer some skepticism about the current form of these ageing and otherwise retired Australian rugby greats – a fair point to make, but completely undermined by an asinine comparison based on limited data with players who quite clearly are not in the same class.

              WB’s point was not that Smith and Sharpe should be automatically selected, but that they surely would be if they were able to make themselves available. Selection does demand for them to be the best in their position, but based off what I have seen of George playing for Suntory (he didn’t just disappear for three years, he has been playing rugby) and on Sharpe’s form as recently as October last year, it would be hard to imagine them not being selected. And you know what? Douglas, Fardy, Neville, Pyle, Simmons, Timani, Horwill, Gill, Hooper – not a man among them has ever shown the kind of form that Smith and Sharpe have shown over the last twelve months.

              • March 12th 2013 @ 12:38am
                Hightackle said | March 12th 2013 @ 12:38am | ! Report

                WTF are you talking about?

                Horwill is a better lock than Sharpe for a start and I never said anything that you said I did?
                Now read my post again, dont make stuff up and get back to me.
                How strange.

              • March 12th 2013 @ 1:01am
                Hightackle said | March 12th 2013 @ 1:01am | ! Report

                If we are selecting on records rather than the obvious things that you are ignoring like Sharpe being retired, Smith having signed overseas, only having played 1 game so far and not in consideration at the mo from the coaches own mouth.
                However, lets select Elsom and Giteau too, I mean Higgs, Quirk and Mowen have not accomplished what Elsom has right? Also no 1st or 2nd 5 has done what Gits has done right? Better select them.
                So its settled, we will pick players based on last years form or even better, form from 4 years ago at the expense of players playing extremely well and signed for Australia for the whole damn season.
                Brilliant idea…not.
                ABs should select Brad Thorn too, I wonder what Buck Shelfords up to.

              • March 12th 2013 @ 1:12am
                Hightackle said | March 12th 2013 @ 1:12am | ! Report

                Also Rob ol pal, your editing needs a bit of work.
                I did not say that those players are better than Sharpe and Smith. I said I believe some of those players are better than Sharpe and Smith BEING SIGNED OVERSEAS COMPLICATES THINGS.
                Also Rob we dont know if Smith is the better option after ONE GAME!!!!
                Sure hes been playing overseas but Gill hasnt, Hooper hasnt. They have been playing exceptionally well for their Super Clubs and Australia.
                Now Im a bit more realistic than you and I know that just becuz a player was the 2nd best option 4 years ago behind Pocock does not mean we slot him in ahead of others now.
                Deans has said hes not a reality and I doubt he will select him over Gill or Hooper unless Smith is amazing in every game and Gill or Hooper get injured.
                Thats how it should be

        • March 11th 2013 @ 2:42am
          bluerose said | March 11th 2013 @ 2:42am | ! Report

          i would pick Horwill (if fit), Douglas and Fardy.

          • March 11th 2013 @ 8:41am
            Red Kev said | March 11th 2013 @ 8:41am | ! Report

            I reckon Horwill and Pyle with Fardy on the bench (lock and blindside capable).

            • March 11th 2013 @ 10:10am
              rl said | March 11th 2013 @ 10:10am | ! Report

              assuming Horwill comes back and plays well, can’t argue with that. The Tahs locks did themselves no favours on the weekend (and I take no pleasure in saying it, because we need them to be strong every year, let alone a Lions year).

      • March 10th 2013 @ 10:06pm
        Billy Bob said | March 10th 2013 @ 10:06pm | ! Report

        WB, I’d love to have them both back for the series. I was just having a laugh about how far our wish lost would go.
        Smith may be good. If anyone could have a crack after 3 years of int’l retirement – it would be trusty George.
        But there is some doubt about his speed in the intensity of the current era.

    • March 10th 2013 @ 9:47pm
      Hightackle said | March 10th 2013 @ 9:47pm | ! Report

      Yeah Gill is on top on form and has had international exposure so I would put him ahead so far but Hooper is a proven performer at test level so imo at the mo its too close to call.
      Too many people are demanding selections based on a week by week basis. Its quite silly and it has never worked that way for any coach of any team that I can recall, despite what the Deans blamers would try to make out.

      For example, Carter, Nonu, Dagg, Smith and Read are arguably not the form players for NZ in the super comp but all are arguably world 15 players. All those yelling and screaming becuz Deans doesnt select the guy who has played well for the first 3 games are being really naive.

    • March 10th 2013 @ 10:51pm
      Colvin said | March 10th 2013 @ 10:51pm | ! Report

      The particularly sad thing about Pocock was that he just seemed to fall forward in a way that he would probably do 100 times a week in training. I’m still wondering how it happened.

      Could it be that the way he has baulked up has something to do with it?

      • March 10th 2013 @ 10:59pm
        Hightackle said | March 10th 2013 @ 10:59pm | ! Report

        It was similar to how he got injured when Read tackled him and although I dont see the point in being built like a stocky Arnie in his prime, I doubt his build contributed but who knows. Im sure there are “experts” on here that will let you know.

        • March 11th 2013 @ 6:10am
          Kane said | March 11th 2013 @ 6:10am | ! Report

          Pocock said himself when he done his knee last year, I was just running around the ruck and something popped. It wasn’t Reads tackle

        • March 11th 2013 @ 10:10am
          Hopperdoggy said | March 11th 2013 @ 10:10am | ! Report

          Maybe his thighs were having an argument about which is the biggest and one of his knees got fed up with bickering and checked out?

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