International Rugby

Cheika: Pocock hurting but desperate to face England

Australia head coach Michael Cheika says David Pocock is “hurting” ahead of the clash with England but was named in the starting line-up as he is “desperate to play” at Twickenham.

Pocock damaged his neck in the victory over Italy last weekend, raising doubts over whether he would play in the final match of the tour.

England head coach Eddie Jones accused the Wallabies of mind games after hearing that the flanker may not feature in the Cook Cup showdown.

Cheika says key man Pocock is not fully fit, but is ready to put his body on the line.

Asked if Pocock is 100 per cent, Cheika replied: “Well I wouldn’t say fully, no, I’d rather be fair and square about that, otherwise he would’ve been training [on Thursday], wouldn’t he?

“He’s hurting but he’s desperate to play.

“He’s had them at him all year. He puts his head into places people go to and he’s copped a fair few whacks in there this year. So, he’s certainly not scared to keep putting his head there.

“Hopefully it’ll get looked after when he’s in there.”

Cheika has defended his decision to omit Kurtley Beale from his squad for a match which will see Australia wear an indigenous jersey for the first time overseas. 

“It’s tough but that’s part of footy, that’s the way it goes,” he said.

“You’ve got to understand, you’ve got to be clear with why but then that’s it. And since he’s found out, he’s been a strong contributor as well, along with all the players that haven’t got to play this week.

“There’s a bunch of players that are not playing this week that are very disappointed. Some guys that haven’t been able to get a game on the tour at all.

“It’s also a little bit about wanting to give, I think…some of our young players deserve the chance to go out and experience this.” News wire is powered by opta

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