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Pocock passed fit for England showdown

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22nd November, 2018
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Wallabies back-rower David Pocock has been cleared to face England after passing a fitness test in London on Thursday.

A fitness cloud has hung over the talismanic No.8 since he was forced off the field against Italy last week after sustaining a neck injury.

However, the 30-year-old was cleared to play after being put through his paces by the team’s medical staff and then successfully completing a full session with the rest of the squad.

Coach Michael Cheika has made five changes to the side that beat the Italians last week with the biggest surprise being the axing of Kurtley Beale who hasn’t even made the bench for the Twickenham encounter.

Beale was among the replacements in Padua last week and widely expected to play at inside centre, but Cheika has instead kept faith with Bernard Foley in that role with Matt Toomua keeping the five-eighth spot.

Dane Haylett-Petty moves from fullback to right wing, with Israel Folau dropping back to the custodian role and 21-year-old Melbourne Rebels winger Jack Maddocks named on the opposite flank.

Veteran prop Sekope Kepu is named in the starting line-up for the first time on the tour with Tolu Latu preferred at hooker to Folau Fainga’a and Tatafu Polota-Nau.

Team: Israel Folau, Dane Haylett-Petty, Samu Kerevi, Bernard Foley, Jack Maddocks, Matt Toomua, Will Genia, David Pocock, Michael Hooper (capt), Jack Dempsey, Adam Coleman, Izack Rodda, Sekope Kepy, Tolu Latu, Scott Sio. Replacements: Tatafu Polota-Nau, Jermaine Ainsley, Allan Alaalatoa, Rob Simmons, Ned Hanigan, Pete Samu, Nick Phipps, Sefa Naivalu.