Wallabies backrower Scott Fardy says there’s no true like for like replacement for injured flanker David Pocock.
Coach Michael Cheika has the option of replacing Pocock, who is out with a fractured eye socket, with another number seven or shifting back to a more conventional back row structure.
Fardy said there was no point trying to find an exact replacement for Pocock and he wouldn’t be trying to pick what his coach was leaning towards.
“I never think you’re looking for like-for-like,” he said.
“You don’t want to be telling someone “Play Like David Pocock or play like Michael Hooper”.
“They just play like they do. That’s why they’ve been selected in the squad.
“That’s why they will be part of the team on Saturday.”
Sean McMahon, the Melbourne Rebels flanker who will also celebrate a birthday on Saturday, has been the name on many lips as a possible replacement for Pocock.
The 21-year-old has played little number eight, suiting up mainly at blindside or openside flanker for the Rebels in Super Rugby but Fardy said if he got the nod we would be good
“If he gets the opportunity. I think he would do a fantastic job,” he said.
“Playing with him, playing against him, he’s been great and he’s great inside the squad.
“There are other options as well, Cliffy Palu, Ben McCalman.
“There’s a few options there and Cheik…I’m not going to even try to read his mind.”
Regardless of whether McMahon is picked to step up for the Wallabies this weekend, Fardy said the youngest of the current squad had a big future ahead of him.
“I watched him play Under 20 and I thought, ‘Jeez, this bloke’s good’,” he said.
“Every player has improved over the last few years and Sean has been fantastic at Super level and he will be at Test level when he plays more.”
Fardy said anyone that Cheika went with on Saturday would be able to compete at Test level and was confident that Australia could even up the ledger on Saturday night.
“He’s (Pocock’s) going to be a big loss,” he said.
“Any player of that calibre not playing is tough on the squad and tough on David to pick up an injury like that.
“But I look at the guys that aren’t playing at the moment and I’m filled with a lot of confidence and they’ve been doing it all year in Super Rugby and in Test rugby previously.
“Looking forward to whoever Cheik selects doing a really good job.”
Fardy said he was confident Australia could bounce back from the first Test loss and send the series into a Sydney decider.
“We started the game really well and things just got away from us there and we made a few crucial errors and probably lost our way at set piece but they’re very fixable things,” he said.
“The team is very confident about what we can do.”