Rugby Union

David Pocock out of Brumbies' Super Rugby clash against Chiefs due to ankle injury

ACT Brumbies flanker David Pocock's horror injury run continues with the former Wallabies captain ruled out of Friday night's clash against the Waikato Chiefs in New Plymouth, opening the way for scrumhalf Nic White to take over the captaincy.

Pocock suffered a grade-one syndesmosis to his ankle against the Queensland Reds at Canberra Stadium on Friday night and will be assessed on a weekly basis.

David Pocock will miss the Brumbies' second game of the season against the Chiefs.
David Pocock will miss the Brumbies' second game of the season against the Chiefs. Photo: Matt Bedford

He didn't train on Monday, just days after his return from a second knee reconstruction.

The openside flanker has played just six games for the Brumbies as he enters his third season since moving from the Western Force, each of the previous two ended by torn anterior cruciate ligaments. 

David Pocock pictured leaving Brumbies HQ in a moon boot on Monday.
David Pocock pictured leaving Brumbies HQ in a moon boot on Monday. 

"Obviously it's a disappointing outcome and not what I wanted, having spent a long time out, but it's treatable and I know I'm in good hands here with the Brumbies medical team," Pocock said.

The 26-year-old showed he had lost none of his ball-pilfering ability in his return against the Reds, earning a crucial penalty in the shadows of half-time that led to a Joe Tomane try and sent the Brumbies into the break in control of the game.

He'll be sorely missed against the Chiefs, who have a number of All Blacks returning to their line-up - including Liam Messam, Brodie Retallick and Aaron Cruden.

Brumbies coach Stephen Larkham has a ready-made replacement for Pocock at openside flanker in last season's best-and-fairest Jarrad Butler.

David Pocock tries to muscle past James Horwill on Friday night.
David Pocock tries to muscle past James Horwill on Friday night. Photo: Matt Bedford.

Butler played at No.8 against the Reds, with Jordan Smiler a chance to come into the starting XV.

With captain Stephen Moore set to spend another week on the bench, it's also a blow to the leadership stocks.

Vice-captain White is the only member of the leadership group in the starting line-up, opening the way for him to wear the captain's armband in his final season with the Super Rugby province.

"It's definitely a blow for Dave, having worked so hard to get back to full fitness and then to have played as well as he did on Friday," Larkham said.
 
"But it's a long season, this is contact sport and these sorts of injuries are quite common.

"It's in no way related to his knee and we are going to approach it week by week to see when he's OK to play again.
 
"Dave has been positive about this setback and while he'd rather be on the flight to New Zealand with the team than rehabbing in a moon boot, we are optimistic he'll be back soon."

Brumbies forwards coach Dan McKellar said Josh Mann-Rea would again start at hooker, with Moore to look for more game time off the bench.

Moore played 30 minutes against the Reds in his return from a knee reconstruction.

"Josh played really well so he'll start against the Chiefs on Friday night and we'll look to give Steve a few more minutes again," McKellar said.

"I thought both of them played really well - Steve for his first game in eight months, he had some really good touches ... and Josh was good in the first 50."

Brumbies prop Scott Sio said the Brumbies were starting to have three genuine starting options for the No.2 jersey, with Siliva Siliva playing 70 minutes for the Brumby Runners on the weekend.

"That problem that we had last year [with injured hookers] seems to be really taken off this year and we're rebuilding that depth back there this year," Sio said.

"Any one of those three could step in and play - you saw on the weekend Josh had an amazing game and [Moore] came off the bench and added some real impact." 

SUPER RUGBY

Friday: ACT Brumbies v Waikato Chiefs at New Plymouth, 7.35pm. TV time: Live on Fox Sports 2.