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South Africa 16:05 Australia

Australia flanker David Pocock to make return from injury against Wales

Last Updated: 29/11/12 5:09pm

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David Pocock: Will make his return from injury for Australia in Cardiff

David Pocock: Will make his return from injury for Australia in Cardiff

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David Pocock will return to the Australia line-up in the final game of their autumn tour against Wales on Saturday.

The flanker has not featured for the Wallabies since injuring his knee against New Zealand in August, with a niggling calf problem further extending his spell on the sidelines.

Pocock returns at the expense of Michael Hooper, but Nathan Sharpe will retain the captaincy for his 116th and final Test before retirement.

Robbie Deans makes three other changes for the Millennium Stadium clash, with Kane Douglas named in the second row in place of the suspended Sitaleki Timani.

Tatafu Polota-Nau replaces Stephen Moore at hooker, while Nick Phipps starts at scrum-half ahead of the injured Brett Sheehan.

Sheehan suffered an ankle problem in last weekend's narrow win over Italy, with Brendan McKibbin named on the bench after joining the squad on Tuesday.

Although Hooper acquitted himself superbly in Pocock's absence, Deans is delighted to have his first-choice openside back in the starting line-up.

He said: "David is one of the best in the world as a player, and is growing every day as a leader, so naturally we are delighted to have him back.

"While he has continued to contribute off the field, this tour has been one of frustration for him, but we were not prepared to take any risks and potentially compromise either the player or the team, in terms of his fitness.

"The upside to the wait is that his return comes at a time where we need fresh energy, as was evident at times during our Test in Italy."

Australia: Barnes, Cummins, Ashley-Cooper, Tapuai, Mitchell, Beale, Phipps; Robinson, Polota-Nau, Alexander, Douglas, Sharpe (captain), Higginbotham, Pocock, Palu.

Replacements: Moore, Slipper, Kepu, Dennis, Hooper, McKibbin, Harris, Ioane.

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