Pocock, Folau both "looking good" for Pumas return

The Rugby Championship
by Sam Phillips

Israel Folau shapes as a probable starter for the Wallabies against Argentina on the Gold Coast on Saturday and David Pocock has taken positive steps towards returning to the team as well after doing contact work in training on Tuesday.

Assistant coach Stephen Larkham expressed hope both Wallabies stars would be fit to resume their places in the starting XV to meet the Pumas, after both were late scratchings from the team named to play the Springboks in Brisbane. 

Folau has trained strongly with the Wallabies this week and appears well on track to return to the No. 15 jersey when the team is named on Thursday. 

Pocock, who suffered a neck injury to his neck in the second Bledisloe Cup Test, ran with the side in the morning and then did a limited amount of contact work for the first time since Auckland later in the afternoon.

Pocock trained at Robina Stadium on Tuesday. Photo: Getty ImagesThere is still a way to go before Pocock is deemed fit but the contact session was a significant step after Larkham had earlier declared a vital box to tick.

"It’s all part of the progressions definitely," Larkham said.

"I think before you get out on the paddock - particularly before a Test - you need to make sure you have a bit of contact under your belt.

"He will do his progressions whether that is (Tuesday afternoon) or Thursday we’ll wait and see."

No call would be made on the availability of Pocock or Folau until Thursday but Larkham is happy with the progress of both players.

"They both trained today and they looked ok but we’re not going to make that decision until later in the week," he said.

"They’re looking good at this stage."

Dane Haylett-Petty has been an accomplished replacement for Folau in the last two Tests but even the Rebels star said he would welcome back the star No. 15.

"He is a great finisher, he can make something out of nothing," Haylett-Petty said.

"He is amazing in the air and I think just the calmness he brings and the confidence he gives to the team and the boys around him is always good to have someone like that in your team."

The Wallabies face the Pumas at Robina Stadium on Saturday, kicking off at 8pm AEST, broadcast LIVE on FOX SPORTS, Channel Ten and RUGBY.com.au radio.