Pocock was unable to participate in contact sessions at training this week after suffering from ongoing neck soreness and stiffness in the wake of the second Bledisloe Cup Test in Auckland last month.
Pocock, the world’s premier breakdown exponent, was in anguish throughout the Test as the All Blacks at times used illegal neck rolls to shift him from the ruck.
It has been an ongoing issue this season with Pocock also targeted with the same tactics by Ireland in June and throughout Super Rugby.
He has been replaced in the starting lineup by Pete Samu, who is not a noted No 8.
Pocock has not revealed the exact nature or extent of the neck issues.
Stephen Hoiles says Pocock’s neck injury is a concern
Rugby Union: Stephen Hoiles and the Kick & Chase team discuss the neck injury David Pocock is dealing with and whether there are ongoing concerns for his future in the game.
Neither he or Wallabies coach Michael Cheika have made much of the issue in public.
Speaking on Thursday, Cheika said Pocock’s teammates needed to offer him better support at the breakdown.
“He’s taking a lot of action to his head and neck and we need to protect him a bit more if he’s out there,” Cheika said.
Speaking on Fox Sports’ Kick and Chase on Wednesday, former Wallabies backrower Stephen Hoiles expressed his concern over Pocock’s longevity in the game.
“At Poey’s age — like he’s still a young man, he’s got a lot of footy to play — it’s one of those injuries that if you’re starting to talk arthritic neck and old man’s neck, that’s a concern,” Hoiles said.
Wallabies captain Michael Hooper will address the Pocock news when he speaks with media on Friday.
WALLABIES (15-1): Israel Folau, Dane Haylett-Petty, Reece Hodge, Matt Toomua, Marika Koroibete, Kurtley Beale, Will Genia, Pete Samu, Michael Hooper (c), Lukhan Tui, Adam Coleman, Rory Arnold, Allan Alaalatoa, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Scott Sio
Reserves: Folau Faingaa, Tom Robertson, Taniela Tupou, Izack Rodda, Ned Hanigan, Joe Powell, Bernard Foley, Jack Maddocks
SPRINGBOKS (15-1): Willie le Roux, Makazole Mapimpi, Jesse Kriel, Damian de Allende, Aphiwe Dyantyi, Elton Jantjies, Faf de Klerk, Warren Whiteley, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Siya Kolisi (c), Franco Mostert, Eben Etzebeth, Frans Malherbe, Bongi Mbonambi, Steven Kitshoff
Reserves: Malcolm Marx, Tendai Mtawarira, Wilco Louw, RG Snyman, Francois Louw, Embrose Papier, Handré Pollard, Cheslin Kolbe
NEW PODCAST! Nick Phipps calls in from Wallabies camp, fresh from his Shute Shield triumph. Then, 1995 Rugby World Cup hero Joel Stransky sheds light on the Springboks
Jack Maddocks comforts David Pocock at Eden Park.Source:AAP
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THE Wallabies have been hit with a hammer blow on the eve of Saturday’s crunch Test against the Springboks, with superstar No 8 David Pocock a late scratching because of a concerning neck injury.