Pocock on course for Italy return
Brumbies and Wallabies star David Pocock. Photo: Andrew Campbell
WALLABY David Pocock remains on track to return for next weekend's rugby Test against Italy in Florence but Kane Douglas's chances of playing out the remainder of the European tour are doubtful.
Coach Robbie Deans said Douglas, who has a knee injury, would be assessed before the team travelled to Italy with the strong possibility a second player would be called into the squad.
Standby forward Scott Higginbotham joined the squad in Britain this weekend and is available to face Italy after serving a suspension for striking All Blacks' skipper Richie McCaw.
Pocock was expected to make his long-awaited return from a knee injury in game two of the tour against England before he had a setback.
The Brumbies recruit trained strongly in Paris on the opening week of the tour before suffering a calf strain in London.
Having used more than 40 players in 13 Tests this year, mostly due to injury, Deans was loathe to say Pocock would be right to face the Italians.
''Given this year's history, I'm not going to make any predictions … I would suggest he would be right,'' Deans said.
''It's a not a major (injury) … He's coming back off an injury and we're just making sure that when he returns, he's good to go.''
Pocock hasn't played since he damaged knee ligaments in the Wallabies' opening Bledisloe Cup match with New Zealand in August.
Higginbotham was drafted in for reserve lock Rob Simmons, who was banned for eight matches for a lifting tackle in the Wallabies' 33-6 loss to France.
While the Wallabies are set to appeal against the severity of the ban, it's believed they are resigned to losing the Queenslander for the remainder of the tour.
Deans has a second player in mind to call into the squad but said that would be communicated when the time was right.
Australia play Wales in the fourth and final leg of the European tour in Cardiff on November 25.