How Wallabies coach Michael Cheika will deploy Michael Hooper (left) and David Pocock at the World Cup is still under wraps. Picture: Getty Images
How Wallabies coach Michael Cheika will deploy Michael Hooper (left) and David Pocock at the World Cup is still under wraps. Picture: Getty Images

Cheika tight-lipped on 'Pooper' plans

WALLABIES coach Michael Cheika still isn't giving anything away about his plans for Michael Hooper and David Pocock at the World Cup.

It's the question every Wallaby fan wants an answer to - will they play together in Japan as the Pooper combination is known, or will the selectors bite the bullet and choose between two of the team's best players?

Cheika hasn't had to make that decision yet because Pocock has been battling injury all year but now that he's fit again, the question can't be avoided much longer, even though Hooper is sitting out Saturday night's match against Samoa when Pocock makes his comeback.

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"I may, I may not. That's not really an answer," Cheika said.

"We will take a look at it when the time comes, depending on whether we want the two lads together or if we want to play a more traditional back row."

Pressed on whether he is considering playing them together for Australia's World Cup opener against Fiji, Cheika made it clear he wanted to keep everyone guessing.

"If I knew, I probably wouldn't tell you," he said. "And if I didn't know, I probably wouldn't tell you either. So there you go."

David Pocock will captain the Wallabies against Samoa on Saturday while Michael Hooper (right) will sit out the match. Picture: Getty Images
David Pocock will captain the Wallabies against Samoa on Saturday while Michael Hooper (right) will sit out the match. Picture: Getty Images

Sidelined all season because of nagging calf injury, Pocock's return could not come at a better time for the Wallabies as they look to build momentum heading into the sport's showcase tournament.

The Wallabies have been ultra careful with Pocock's health to ensure he will play at the World Cup and although he isn't expected to play the full 80 minutes against Samoa, Cheika said there's no doubts about his fitness after the squad returned home from a gruelling two-week training camp in New Caledonia.

"He has got through everything on the camp and hasn't had to be managed at all. He is ready to go definitely," Cheika said.

"I don't think he will play a full match. He hasn't played for a fair while. But we'll see how it goes.

"(We) pretty much played games at training - you couldn't get much closer to the footy than some of the stuff we have been doing.

"He has been in every situation, going for the ball, getting smashed, tackle, ball carry, chasing guys 80 metres to try and save a try. He has done everything there, he's ready."