The Wallabies Can Puff Their Chests Out Again With David Pocock Back In The Side
Impressive loose forward Jack Dempsey says the Wallabies will walk that little bit taller at the Rugby World Cup with the inspirational David Pocock fit again and back in the line-up.
Pocock captained Australia in his final Test on home soil and got through a solid hour’s work in his first game in six months because of a mysterious calf injury.
Dempsey, himself on the comeback trail from injury, said it was no coincidence that the Wallabies somewhat lost their way when Pocock left the field — as Dwayne Polataivao scored a memorable second try to bring Samoa back within seven.
The Wallabies eventually steadied for a 34-15 win but Dempsey said Pocock’s world class influence remained undimmed.
“The way he’s led the group all week, we’ve seen that.
“The telling thing was when he came off we did lose a lot of chat and communication in the backrow.
“So that’s up to guys like myself and Lukhan (Salakaia-Loto), that we add more voice.
“But looking forward he is an 80 minute player and Hoops (Michael Hooper) will have a major role as well.
“The awesome thing about Poey is he always leads by example.
“He’s always stood up at World Cups and been that star for Australia.
“It’s good to have him in the same backrow as me.”
Like Pocock, Dempsey has had a wretched run of bad luck with his body and his World Cup aspirations often looked uncertain.
The 25-year-old’s latest scare was a shoulder injury while playing for Gordon against Easts in Sydney’s Shute Shield last month.
He damaged ligaments 10 minutes in but in typical Dempsey style he played on.
“A few alarm bells were going off, it was early in the game when I did it and I wasn’t getting much strength out of it.
“But I got a scan that night and there was a slight ray of hope.
“It’s all in the past, we all know what the last couple of years have been like.
“I just try to focus on what’s ahead of me and we’ve got a World Cup to go win.
“That’s all I’m focused on, what I can add to the team and what my style brings to the squad.”
While satisfied to get through the game with a win, Dempsey was disappointed with his defensive display which he felt was in part due to a lack of strength in his shoulder.
“So I’m going to focus on getting that back.
“We’ve trained hard over the last couple of weeks, I’m fairly confident.
“Just got to get that contact fitness up next week.”
More known as a blindside flanker, Dempsey wore No 8 against Samoa to allow Isi Naisarani a well earned rest.
Also capable of covering openside, that versatility will be crucial in Japan given the selectors have rolled the dice with just five loose forwards.
“Out of the three No 8 is the one I’m learning the most, the stuff at the back of the scrum,” Dempsey said.
“I’m enjoying it, hands on the ball a bit more.”
Author: Sam Worthington