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Rugby World Cup: Pocock needs to be at his best to stop Wales

| 20.10.2011

Australian David Pocock may be the 5/2 favourite for the IRB World Player of the Year award, but Friday’s game against Wales should be a stern test for the flanker.

Pocock is one of only two players in the Australian pack to survive the cull from their disappointing semi final defeat against New Zealand and will be a vital cog if the Wallabies are to win the third place play-off.

And, after being shortlisted for the prestigious award alongside fellow Aussie, Will Genia (11/4), Pocock is determined to end their World Cup on a high.

He said: “It’s a huge honour to be nominated for such an award and I guess it’s just that. You can’t think about it too much with the game coming up tomorrow night.

“They’ve a back row with a very high work rate. They get around the field well and they’re a team in general that attack the rucks hard in attack and defence.

Meanwhile, despite his disappointing performance against France, Wales have stuck with James Hook at fly-half for the game and his kicking will have to be better than it was against the French if Wales are to win what promises to be a tight affair.

Australia head into the game as narrow favourites at 8/11, with Wales out at 5/4 to claim third place in the competition.

Australia have by far the better record in recent years, winning four of their previous five encounters.

However, with Australia making so many changes in the pack and Wales looking better than they have done in many seasons, backing Warren Gatland’s men to come out on top with a six point head start at 8/13 looks a very tempting bet.



Richard Anderson