Pocock ruled out of June Test series

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Wallabies flanker David Pocock will miss the rest of the England series, ruled out with a fractured eye socket.

Pocock was taken off the ground late in Australia's 39-28 loss to England under the blood rule before the injury was confirmed post-match.

The longer-term prognosis is not yet known, with medical staff waiting for the swelling on the injury to go down.

Pocock will remain in Brisbane while the rest of the squad moves south to Melbourne ahead of the crucial second Test.

His loss is a major blow to the side, that was already going into the second Test week with some injury concerns, after lock Rob Simmons suffered a back injury in Australia's loss.

Pocock's injury potentially opens the door for Ben McCalman or veteran number eight Wycliff Palu to step into the Wallabies starting side, in what would be a move back to the more traditional backrow structure.

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika said he was exploring his options when it came to the backrow structure, even throwing Liam Gill's name into the mix as a possible replacement for Pocock, despite being out of the official 33-man squad for the series.

"We’ll just see how we pan out,” he said.

“We got final confirmation this morning so we’re just waiting to see how the day pans out around what we might take into next week’s game.

"We’ve got the option of sticking with what we’ve got or if we want to bring in a like for like, go for Liam Gill.

"There’s Ben McCalman, Sean McMahon, there’s options there that have experience in the front line so we’re fortunate but at the same time, disappointed.

"(We lose) the dynamic we have in the backrow with himself, Michael and Scott and (have to decide whether) to create a different type of complementary nature or go like for like."

Thanks for all the messages. I'll be cheering on the @qantaswallabies over the next two weeks. #AUSvENG #StrongerAsOne

While the 28-year-old's series is over, he will still have a chance to feature for the Wallabies before taking a one-season sabbatical in 2017, with the Rugby Championship and Bledisloe Cup Tests on the horizon after Super Rugby season.

The Wallabies fly to Melbourne on Sunday morning ahead of the second Test of the series, one they must win to keep their overall trophy hopes alive.