The post-Pocock backrow: same, same, or different?

David Pocock won’t play in at least the next two Wallabies Tests. But will his absence force a backrow overhaul? Image: ABC Grandstand

The Roar: Like all good revolutions and re-inventions, the Wallabies at some point were always going to be forced into working out what their backrow would look like in the days beyond David Pocock.

Pocock’s looming 2017 sabbatical meant that the Spring Tour was probably going to be an opportunity for experimentation, but his broken hand will force Michael Cheika into action sooner. Something they thought they might’ve had more time to prepare for now has to happen immediately.

And rushed plans and the Wallabies don’t always go well together.

Australia’s flanker depth: sixes but no sevens

Reds flanker Liam Gill will head to French club Toulon at the conclusion of the 2016 Super Rugby season. Image via Queensland Reds

Reds flanker Liam Gill will head to French club Toulon at the conclusion of the 2016 Super Rugby season. Image via Queensland Reds

David Pocock on the ramage during the RWC semi-final. Image: ABC Grandstand

David Pocock on the rampage during the RWC semi-final. Image: ABC Grandstand

The Roar: The news that champion openside and maul-based try-scoring machine David Pocock is contemplating a sabbatical year of study at either Cambridge or Oxford is not so much of a surprise to the Australian rugby fraternity.

Pocock’s decision to re-sign with the ARU and the Brumbies for just the 2016 season was always going to fuel speculation as to his plans for 2017, but the concept of him taking a year off rugby to study or scratch his numerous charitable itches was always said to be on the cards, and was viewed as Pocock wanting to do something for himself in order to extend his playing career. It was, and still is, hard to argue.

The news on Wednesday about Queensland Reds flanker Liam Gill, however, was somewhat from left field

ABC Grandstand: Folau goes back-to-back, Wallabies head Stateside

Israel Folau claimed a second John Eales Medal in Sydney last night. Image: ABC Grandstand

ABC Grandstand Digital: With Andrew Mayes on Grandstand Breakfast this morning, we touch on Israel Folau’s second consecutive John Eales Medal and just how close David Pocock followed behind, the Wallabies preparing to head to the US to commence RWC preps and take on the Eagles in Chicago, and last night’s extraordinary NRC result..

Finally, Cheika gets to lay ‘his’ cards on the table

Michael Cheika is making all the right noises about Quade Cooper starting at no.10 for the Wallabies. Image: ABC Grandstand

Michael Cheika is making all the right noises about Quade Cooper starting at no.10 for the Wallabies. Image: ABC Grandstand

The Roar: Mid-morning Thursday, Australian Eastern Standard Time. That will be when we find out the Wallabies’ 23-man squad to take on South Africa at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane on Saturday night, the first match of The Rugby Championship.

It will also mark the first steps on the road to the Rugby World Cup in England later this year.

It will be a significant moment not just for where the Wallabies are heading in 2015. Thursday’s team announcement will mark the first time Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has been able to name a team from a squad he selected himself..