Rugby Union


Pocock to captain Wallabies

New Wallabies captain David Pocock plans to lead by deed rather than word and has already got the seal of approval from one of his predecessors.

Zimbabwean-born Pocock will lead an Australian side containing five uncapped players in the Test against Scotland in Newcastle on Tuesday.

Two New Zealand-born backs, the Queensland Reds' Mike Harris and the Melbourne Rebels Joe Tomane, will make their debuts at inside centre and wing respectively.

The other new faces are Reds fullback Luke Morahan, Waratahs blindside flanker Dave Dennis and Brumbies prop Dan Palmer, with uncapped openside flanker Michael Hooper of the Brumbies named on the bench.

Pocock, 24, captained Australia against the Barbarians last November and has also led the Force Super franchise this year.

"I definitely want to lead by actions more than the big speech," said Pocock, who takes over from injured skipper James Horwill.


Wallabies' coach Robbie Deans said Pocock had shown his effectiveness by maintaining morale at the struggling Force.

Veteran lock Nathan Sharpe, who captained Australia twice and on Wednesday will become the joint-third highest-capped Wallaby with Stephen Larkham on 102, was effusive in his praise of Pocock, who took over from him as Force skipper.

"He's going to turn into a very very good captain once he gets that experience of balancing his gut instinct and what is going on in his head," Sharpe said.

"He's committed, he sets himself very high standards, but more than anything he is a terrific bloke.

"When you get that sort of combination, it's very easy for guys to follow a guy like that."

The selectors opted for Berrick Barnes at five-eighth, rather than Quade Cooper, who has played just 120 minutes following knee surgery.

"He doesn't have any issues around his knee, but he has indicated that he would prefer to get some more work under his belt before he re-enters what is the ultimate arena," Deans said of Cooper.

Deans said the big advantage of playing Barnes at five-eighth was he had background knowledge of the Wallabies' setup.

Harris, who will handle the goalkicking duties, represented New Zealand at under-20 level, but is eligible for Australia on heritage grounds.

Tomane played for the Australian Schoolboys, but spent time with the Melbourne and Gold Coast NRL clubs before returning to rugby union.

Morahan and Dennis have toured with the Wallabies before without earning a cap, while Palmer's decision to move from the Waratahs to the Brumbies appears to have been vindicated.

Only seven starters from Australia's last Test against Wales have made the run-on side for Tuesday.

All but five of the starters have been drawn from the Reds and Force, who both had a Super Rugby bye, with Queensland supplying seven of the run-on side.

Wallabies squad (15-1): Luke Morahan, Joe Tomane, Anthony Faingaa, Mike Harris, Digby Ioane, Berrick Barnes, Will Genia, Scott Higginbotham, David Pocock, Dave Dennis, Nathan Sharpe, Sitaleki Timani, Dan Palmer, Stephen Moore, James Slipper. Reserves: Saia Faingaa, Ben Alexander, Rob Simmons, Michael Hooper, Nick Phipps, Pat McCabe, Adam Ashley-Cooper.