Hooper expecting 'dominant' Pocock at Rugby World Cup

By Sports Desk August 23, 2019

Australia captain Michael Hooper expects David Pocock to be "dominant" upon his return from injury at the Rugby World Cup.

Pocock has been out of action since March due to a calf problem and was not passed fit for the humbling 36-0 Bledisloe Cup Test defeat against New Zealand in Perth on August 17.

However, head coach Michael Cheika on Friday included the experienced flanker in his 31-man squad for the upcoming tournament in Japan.

Hooper and Pocock formed a formidable back-row partnership dubbed as 'Pooper' at the 2015 World Cup and the captain is pleased they have been reunited.

"I love playing with Dave and what he's bringing to the squad," said Hooper.

"Because he hasn't been on the field lately he's actually upped his stuff in a different way, how he can contribute, how he can impact the group off the field and it's been really noticeable.

"To have that going on and then he's imminent to get on the field and play some good minutes now.

"He's going to do us no surprise when he comes back. The guy's physically in fantastic shape. I imagine when he hits the ground running he's going to be dominant again."

Hooper and Pocock started games together despite both being openside flankers and Cheika was unwilling to confirm if he will return to using them in tandem.

"That's the decision to make isn't it. Michael [Hooper]'s the captain so it's either them together or we make the decision that one plays one game and one plays another," Cheika said.

"We'll just prepare for the Fiji game, see what's the best combination for that game and we'll go from there."

Australia face Samoa in a warm-up match on September 7 before beginning their World Cup campaign against Fiji in Sapporo two weeks later.

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