Wallabies Captain Pocock Needs Surgery; Boks Arrive in Argentina

Australia captain David Pocock will miss at least this week’s Rugby Championship match against New Zealand and requires surgery to determine the extent of the knee injury he sustained in the tournament opener.

The openside flanker will undergo a keyhole procedure tomorrow after damaging cartilage in his right knee during the Wallabies’ 27-19 loss to the All Blacks in Sydney two days ago, the team said. Pocock said he’s not sure how long he’ll be out.

The surgeon “wanted to avoid putting a timeline on it till after he actually got in there to have a look,” Pocock, 24, said in Sydney today.

Pocock was appointed Australia captain in June after regular skipper James Horwill ruptured his hamstring, an injury that needed surgery and sidelined the second-rower for the rest of the year. Wallabies coach Robbie Deans said after the loss to New Zealand that scrum-half Will Genia would lead the team at Auckland’s Eden Park on Aug. 25 if Pocock was unavailable. Deans is scheduled to name his team in three days.

Australia must win to have any chance of winning back the Bledisloe Cup contested annually against New Zealand. The Wallabies last held the trophy in 2002 and this year is the first best-of-three contest since 1998, the series having been played over two or four matches in the time since.

South Africa hooker Bismarck du Plessis suffered a season-ending knee injury during the Springboks’ 27-6 win over southern hemisphere championship newcomer Argentina two days ago.

Du Plessis needs surgery after damaging the medial and anterior cruciate ligaments in his right knee, the South African Rugby Union said. He was replaced in the squad by Craig Burden.

Four other players were added to the 22-man roster that beat the Pumas to travel to Argentina for the second round of the Rugby Championship. The Springboks will transfer to Mendoza today after arriving in Buenos Aires.

“The travel has been good, we got some sleep on the flight,” Springboks captain Jean de Villiers said in an e-mailed team release. “We will review the first Test on Monday and see where we are injury wise and then start preparing for Saturday’s game.”

     Forwards: Willem Alberts, Andries Bekker, Craig Burden, Pat
Cilliers, Marcell Coetzee, Keegan Daniel, Jannie du Plessis,
Eben Etzebeth, Dean Greyling, Juandre Kruger, Tiaan Liebenberg,
Tendai Mtawarira, Jacques Potgieter, Adriaan Strauss, Flip van
der Merwe.

     Backs: Jean de Villiers (captain), JJ Engelbrecht, Bryan
Habana, Francois Hougaard, Zane Kirchner, Patrick Lambie, Lwazi
Mvovo, Ruan Pienaar, Frans Steyn, Morne Steyn, Jano Vermaak.
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