Cheika gives Pocock number 6 jersey

Date published: November 3 2016

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David Pocock will play at blindside flank for the first time in his Test career when Australia meet Wales in Cardiff on Saturday.

Pocock has played number eight alongside Michael Hooper when fit in recent times but Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has opted to start the flanker at six, with Dean Mumm suspended, leaving Lopeti Timani at eight.

Cheika conceded it would leave the Wallabies lacking in height in the lineout, but with Timani playing second-row for much of his Super Rugby season, was confident they would be able to combat the Welsh.

"I still think that our lineouts are good and we’ve been working hard on the options. Lopeti’s worked hard on his jump as well, he’s jumped in Melbourne so he’ll have role, a jumping role," he said.

"We believe that we have the right strategy, it’s just about getting ball. Wales are quite good at the defensive lineout, they’ve got some tall timber so we’ll have to be on our game to get that but what we’ve got we’ll back that.

"We have to make sure our lineout’s working. We can’t play the game without the set piece. We’re very well aware of that. We know that will be a big challenge for us to make sure our lineout is strong in that formation."

"I’m just seeing Pocock back with injury and he’s very motivated," Cheika said. "I just think away from home also that extra bit of seniority in the side.

"They can share the openside work if they want to and do things differently. That’ll be, I just think that’s the right feel. The like for like would’ve been the go with Fardy but I think that Pocock has added qualities that he’ll bring to this game."

Cheika has resisted moving Israel Folau into the starting 13 jersey as well, with Tevita Kuridrani replacing the injured Samu Kerevi for the Welsh match.

"Not at this stage," he said.

"I think Dane’s (Haylett-Petty’s) also played really well on the wing. I know he’s a fullback by trade but I think he’s really made the most of his opportunities…and I don’t think changing that around was that necessary at this point."

Hooker Tolu Latu’s meteoric rise from the NRC could be capped with a Wallabies debut against Wales as well, with James Hanson out of the 23, while Cheika has gone back to an experienced group on the bench, with Scott Fardy and James Slipper coming onto the bench for the clash.

Australia: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Dane Haylett-Petty, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Reece Hodge, 11 Henry Speight, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Lopeti Timani, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 David Pocock, 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Stephen Moore (c), 1 Scott Sio
Replacements: 16 Tolu Latu, 17 James Slipper, 18 Allan Alaalatoa, 19 Rob Simmons, 20 Scott Fardy, 21 Nick Frisby, 22 Quade Cooper, 23 Sefa Naivalu

Date: Saturday, November 5
Venue: Principality Stadium, Cardiff
Kick-off: 14:30 GMT
Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)
Assistant Referees: Jérôme Garcès (France), Federico Anselmi (Argentina)
TMO: Simon McDowell (Ireland)

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