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Pocock named in Wallabies squad as Higginbotham pays price for McCaw scuffle


Russell Jackson

Scott Higginbotham knees Richie McCaw in last Saturday's Bledisloe Cup match in Brisbane.

Scott Higginbotham knees Richie McCaw in last Saturday's Bledisloe Cup match in Brisbane. Photo: Fox Sports

Scott Higginbotham's moment of madness against All Blacks' skipper Richie McCaw has cost him his place on the Wallabies' European tour.

Serving a two-match suspension, the fiery Queensland flanker was omitted from the 30-man squad named today, while fellow flanker David Pocock makes his return from injury along with fellow stalwarts Stephen Moore, Berrick Barnes and Digby Ioane.

Australia play Tests against France, England, Italy and Wales with the first Test at Stade de France in Paris on November 10.

Returning ... David Pocock.

Returning ... David Pocock. Photo: Getty Images

Higginbotham was given his ban for kneeing and headbutting McCaw in last Saturday's 18-18 Bledisloe Cup Test draw in Brisbane.

The suspension meant Higginbotham would have to miss the first two Tests, against France and England, and Radike Samo appears to have taken his place in the squad.

With No.8 Wycliff Palu having only recently comeback from injury, and Pocock in the same position, coach Robbie Deans said the Wallabies couldn't carry a loose forward who was unavailable for the first two Tests.

"To have included Scott within the 30 would have created an additional challenge in terms of selection for the opening two matches which would have compromised the group," Deans said in an ARU statement.

"Scott was aware once he was suspended that this was a possibility."

Higginbotham will be on stand-by to join the tour should there be are any injuries.

The squad features an 18-forward, 12-back split, with five props selected to cater for the new arrangements regarding front-row substitutes which requires two props to be included on an eight-man Test reserves bench.

Deans is confident both Pocock (knee) and Moore (hamstring) will hit the ground running on the tour.

"As well as being proven Test performers with valuable experience in the conditions that we will face on this tour, both also provide a significant leadership element which will add to what is still a relatively young group," Deans said.

Barnes returns after recovering from a lung injury suffered against South Africa at Pretoria last month, while Sekope Kepu and Sitaleki Timani are also included after the injuries they sustained against the All Blacks proved less significant than initially feared.

Queensland hooker James Hanson, who made his Test debut during last weekend's draw against New Zealand, won the third hooking berth ahead of his injured Queensland teammate Saia Fainga'a, who broke a bone in his hand at training in the lead-up to that match.

Wallabies squad:
- Benn Robinson, James Slipper, Sekope Kepu, Ben Alexander, Paddy Ryan, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Stephen Moore, James Hanson, Nathan Sharpe (capt), Sitaleki Timani, Kane Douglas, Rob Simmons, Dave Dennis, David Pocock, Michael Hooper, Liam Gill, Wycliff Palu, Radike Samo.

Backs - Nick Phipps, Brett Sheehan, Kurtley Beale, Berrick Barnes, Pat McCabe, Anthony Faingaa, Ben Tapuai, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Digby Ioane, Nick Cummins, Drew Mitchell, Mike Harris.


66 comments so far

  • Is Shipperley injured?

    Only 12 backs for 4 games.

    Assuming Dan palmer is injured, Greg Holmes is the unlucky one. He'll have to have another big super season I guess.

    We're really understrength on half-backs.

    Simmons might have one more season left, then Pyle/Neville will take over.

    Dave Dennis is our only 6. Looks like there will be some combinations with Pocock, Hooper and Gill.

    We need to develop another no.8 too, so we don't have to rely on a 38yo next time Cliffy Palu gets injured. Vaea's the guy.

    Karma Police
    Date and time
    October 25, 2012, 9:51AM
    • Dave Dennis isn't the only 6, Timani and Samo both play there also. The bigger concern would be the lack of halfbacks. Genia is obviously out injured, as is White. Maybe they are planning on using Burgess if one of them gets injured?

      Date and time
      October 25, 2012, 10:30AM
    • Sorry cobber but your really understrength in all positions.The Wallabies are rubbish.

      johnno cody
      Date and time
      October 25, 2012, 10:37AM
    • Yes, Shipperly is injured.

      Douglas can rotate into 6 if needed, so can Samo and Palu to keep height in the lineout or run two fetchers for a change up which has been done a bit recently.

      Date and time
      October 25, 2012, 10:47AM
    • "Only 12 backs for 4 games."

      It's not like that backs do anything - should've just named 7 :)

      Date and time
      October 25, 2012, 10:52AM
    • Rob Simmons is only 23 years old and is still improving and probably growing ! Rob will have a few more years yet.

      Robyn L
      Date and time
      October 25, 2012, 10:52AM
    • sorry johnno cody, your opinion is really understrength

      Date and time
      October 25, 2012, 11:09AM
    • @ johnno:- Disgruntled Kiwi?

      Date and time
      October 25, 2012, 11:18AM
    • Nup, the new number 8 will be David Pocock, with Michael Hooper at 7

      Pocock's running game has been getting steadily stronger, I expect it to get exponentially better while under Jake White.

      Pocock at 8, Hooper at 7.

      You saw it here first folks

      Perth via Rakaia
      Date and time
      October 25, 2012, 12:01PM
    • @jonno cody, you say "The Wallabies are rubbish" Funny that, but it also means the All Blacks are rubbish as they couldn't beat us last time around. Maybe you should have a think before you write something so stupid...oh sorry you are a kiwi....

      Date and time
      October 25, 2012, 12:42PM

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