Pocock boosts Wallabies
Wallabies flanker David Pocock has been included in coach Robbie Deans' starting XV for Saturday's clash with Wales in Cardiff.
Pocock led Australia to a 3-0 clean sweep of the Grand Slam-winning Wales in June, but has not appeared since injuring his knee during the Wallabies' opening match of the inaugural Rugby Championship match against the All Blacks in August.
The 24-year-old was scheduled to make his return earlier in the end-of-year tour, but was held back after sustaining a mild calf strain at training prior to Australia's departure from Paris following the opening game of the tour.
Pocock’s return allows the work load to be eased for star rookie Michael Hooper, who has performed exceptionally in the absence of his senior colleague.
Used off the bench against the Six Nations champions in June, Hooper ends his freshman Test season having started nine Tests consecutively prior to this weekend, where he will be injected into the game from the bench.
The change on the openside is one of three alterations from the Qantas Wallabies starting line-up during last weekend’s gritty 22-19 win over a fast-finishing Italian side at Florence.
The others see lock Kane Douglas return from a knee injury to take over from the suspended Sitaleki Timani, while Tatafu Polota-Nau resumes in the middle of the front row.
Australia: 15 Berrick Barnes, 14 Nick Cummins, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Ben Tapuai, 11 Drew Mitchell, 10 Kurtley Beale, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 David Pocock, 6 Scott Higginbotham, 5 Nathan Sharpe, 4 Kane Douglas, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Tatafu Polota Nau, 1 Benn Robinson.
Replacements: 16 Stephen Moore, 17 James Slipper, 18 Sekope Kepu, 19 Dave Dennis, 20 Michael Hooper, 21 Brendan McKibbin, 22 Mike Harris, 23 Digby Ioane.
Date: Saturday, December 1
Kick-off: 14:30 GMT
Venue: Millennium Stadium
Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)
Assistant referees: Romain Poite (France), Greg Garner (England)
Television match official: Marshall Kilgore (Ireland)