SYDNEY, Aug 23 (Reuters) - Australia coach Michael Cheika named David Pocock in his World Cup squad on Friday despite concerns over the loose forward’s fitness ahead of the global showpiece in Japan.
Pocock has not featured in Wallabies gold since a test against Italy last November and he barely played Super Rugby this year while struggling with a problematic calf injury.
The 31-year-old will have only one warmup before the World Cup, a farewell test against Samoa on Sept. 7, to prove his body is still up to the rigours of test rugby.
Cheika also included veteran back Adam Ashley-Cooper for his fourth World Cup and rising 19-year-old back Jordan Petaia.
Forwards - Allan Alaalatoa, Rory Arnold, Adam Coleman, Jack Dempsey, Folau Fainga’a, Michael Hooper (captain), Sekope Kepu, Tolu Latu, Isi Naisarani, David Pocock, Izack Rodda, Rob Simmons, Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, Scott Sio, James Slipper, Taniela Tupou, Jordan Uelese
Backs - Adam Ashley-Cooper, Kurtley Beale, Bernard Foley, Will Genia, Dane Haylett-Petty, Reece Hodge, Samu Kerevi, Marika Koroibete, Tevita Kuridrani, Christian Leali’ifano, James O’Connor, Jordan Petaia, Matt Toomua, Nic White
Reporting by Nick Mulvenney; Additional reporting by Ian Ransom in Melbourne; Editing by Greg Stutchbury