Wallabies player David Pocock catches a ball during training.
Wallabies player David Pocock catches a ball during training. DAN PELED

Wallabies gamble on Pocock positional switch

RUGBY UNION: Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has admitted to taking a gamble with the lineout against Wales, but says he has the players in place to cope with a lack of height at the set-piece.

Australia will be without suspended Dean Mumm for tonight's clash with Wales in Cardiff (1.30am AEST).

Pocock (pictured) will line up as blindside flanker, with Michael Hooper on the other flank and Lopeti Timani at No.8.

Mumm's height will be missed but Cheika said Brumbies back-rower Pocock had other dynamics that would be good for the team.

"There's no doubt that David Pocock as a straight swap for him (Mumm) won't give him the same area of skills,” he said.

"But at the same time he's got other strengths, Pocock, that I'm sure we'll be able to use in the game.

"We'll just have to be very excellent in our skill delivery from the lineout.

"It's been an area we've improved on over the season and we'll have to be very good with what we do but we should be doing that anyway.

"I believe it's a selection that can work and I'm looking forward to seeing them play together.”

Pocock also believed the Wallabies could cope in the lineout.

"We'll have to adapt,” he said.

"We've been practising our lineouts. All of us can jump. We've just got to back our drill there.”

Pocock said he and Hooper would almost certainly change sides when it comes to scrums but that would be decided during the game.

"I think we'll just see how it feels,” he said.

"I guess we can do that, neither of us is very tall so we'll see. I think we're both pretty equal on the scrum.

"We'll see how it feels and we'll be able to change that left and right side.”

Wales will be missing injured captain Sam Warburton and fellow back-rower Taulupe Faletau, while veteran second-rower Alun Wyn Jones will also be absent following the death of his father.

Wales assistant coach Rob Howley said the area around the breakdown would be key to the outcome of the game.

"With Pocock and Hooper, it shows the sort of landscape they want to play and it's up to us to make sure that they're not in control of that landscape and that's a challenge,” he said.

"The contact area is going to be hugely important and they've got two specialists and that's going to be a huge challenge.”



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