The flanker has been unavailable since his Brumbies side lost to the Rebels on March 8th when he sustained a calf injury.
Speaking ahead of the weekend’s clash Brumbies coach Dan McKellar has confirmed that Pocock will not be rushed back and will be managed carefully.
“You have to manage him. Calf injuries … they can be tricky and hang around a while, so we have to manage his load well. He’s not going to play 80 minutes. That would be silly from our end. We’re just going to manage him wisely and make sure he can string some games together,” he said.
The coach also spoke of Pocock’s vital influence for both his team and the Wallabies heading into the World Cup later this year and would like to get him to build some momentum to get back to his best.
“It would be nice for him to get some consistency week in week out and build his performance. Even if you’re a world class player, if you’re in one week then out for a few more it’s hard to get momentum in your own individual performance,” he added.
Pocock has been somewhat injury prone over the past year with neck injuries and concussion being the most common factors in keeping him side-lined.
However, with Israel Folau’s future in Australia up in the air, a return to full health and form for the 30-year-old leader would be a timely boost to Aussie coach Michael Cheika as Japan approaches quickly.
Rebels confirm big name departures
In an announcement on Friday, the club revealed Koroibete will head to Japan in 2022 following his Wallabies commitments.
The 28-year-old was named Players’ Player following an outstanding 2021 campaign, with the winger scoring 23 tries during his 69 games with the club.
He will be joined in Japan by Isi Naisarani, who will leave the club after playing 31 games since 2019.
Meanwhile, Haylett-Petty, who was named captain for the past three years, will not return as he explores his options.
Haylett-Petty did not feature in 2021 as he continues to recover from a concussion.
Lock Steve Cummins has also signed a multi-year deal with French side Section Paloise in the Top 14.
Their departing list is rounded out by Tom Pincus, who they confirmed will move into his post-Rugby career.
The club has confirmed that they will retain the majority of their squad from 2021, with 27 players contracted for the 2022 season.
All Blacks name squad & Captain for Steinlager Series
The All Blacks selectors, Head Coach Ian Foster, Assistant Head Coach John Plumtree and former All Black Grant Fox, have named the squad for the 2021 Steinlager Series Tests against Fiji and Tonga.
- Exciting talent unveiled with four new caps picked
- Lock Samuel Whitelock named as captain
The 36-strong squad is as follows:
(With age, Sky Super Rugby club, provincial union and Test caps in brackets. New All Blacks are in bold):
Asafo Aumua (24, Hurricanes / Wellington, 1)
Dane Coles (34, Hurricanes / Wellington, 74)
Codie Taylor (30, Crusaders / Canterbury, 56)
George Bower (29, Crusaders / Otago, uncapped)
Ethan de Groot (22, Highlanders / Southland, new cap)
Nepo Laulala (29, Blues / Counties Manukau, 29)
Tyrel Lomax (25, Hurricanes / Tasman, 6)
Angus Ta’avao (31, Chiefs / Auckland, 14)
Karl Tu’inukuafe (28, Blues / North Harbour, 17)
Scott Barrett (27, Crusaders / Taranaki, 36)
Brodie Retallick (30, Chiefs / Hawke’s Bay, 81)
Patrick Tuipulotu (28, Blues / Auckland, 35)
Tupou Vaa’i (21, Chiefs / Taranaki, 4)
Samuel Whitelock (32, Crusaders / Canterbury, 122) – captain
Ethan Blackadder (26, Crusaders / Tasman, new cap)
Shannon Frizell (27, Highlanders / Tasman, 13)
Akira Ioane (26, Blues / Auckland, 2)
Luke Jacobson (24, Chiefs / Waikato, 2)
Dalton Papalii (23, Blues / Counties Manukau, 4)
Ardie Savea (27, Hurricanes / Wellington, 49)
Hoskins Sotutu (22, Blues / Counties Manukau, 5)
Finlay Christie (25, Blues / Tasman, new cap)
Aaron Smith (32, Highlanders / Manawatu, 97)
Brad Weber (30, Chiefs / Hawke’s Bay, 7)
Beauden Barrett (30, Blues / Taranaki, 88)
Richie Mo’unga (27, Crusaders / Canterbury, 22)
Braydon Ennor (23, Crusaders / Canterbury, 1)
David Havili (26, Crusaders / Tasman, 3)
Rieko Ioane (24, Blues / Auckland, 33)
Anton Lienert-Brown (26, Chiefs / Waikato, 49)
Quinn Tupaea (22, Chiefs / Waikato, new cap)
Jordie Barrett (24, Hurricanes / Taranaki, 23)
George Bridge (26, Crusaders / Canterbury, 10)
Will Jordan (22, Crusaders / Tasman, 2)
Damian McKenzie (26, Chiefs / Waikato, 27)
Sevu Reece (23, Crusaders / Tasman, 8)
The key feature of the squad is the selection of four new All Blacks, in young Highlanders and Southland prop Ethan de Groot; Crusaders and Tasman loose forward Ethan Blackadder; Blues and Tasman halfback Finlay Christie; and young Chiefs and Waikato player Quinn Tupaea.
The squad also sees the return of 2019 All Blacks loose forward Luke Jacobson and prop Angus Ta’avao. Midfielders David Havili, who last played for the national side in 2017, and Braydon Ennor are also back, along with senior All Blacks lock Brodie Retallick, who recently returned from a playing stint in Japan.
In naming the first All Blacks squad for 2021, Head Coach Ian Foster said: “Firstly, on behalf of the selectors, I want to congratulate all players selected for this Steinlager Series squad, especially, the new All Blacks, Ethan de Groot and Ethan Blackadder, and Finlay and Quinn. It’s an incredibly special day for them and their families and we look forward to catching up with them when we get into camp this week.
“There will be players who will be disappointed at missing out on selection and we feel for them as well.”
122-Test lock Samuel Whitelock has been named captain for the Steinlager Series, replacing Sam Cane who is still recovering from chest surgery.
“Sam Whitelock is the right man for the job.”
“He’s hugely experienced, not just as a player but also as a leader, and he has great connections with Sam Cane and the leaders in the team as well. Our current leadership group is working hard together and we know Sam will lead the team superbly in the Steinlager Series.”
As well as Cane, several other injured All Blacks weren’t considered for selection, including props Ofa Tuungafasi and Joe Moody and midfielder Jack Goodhue. Highlanders halfback Folau Fakatava was also not considered for selection due to injury.
Foster said the All Blacks had a clear goal for 2021 to be number one in the world again.
“This is going to involve hard work and a commitment to our preparation, whilst at the same time expanding our depth, with an eye to the future.”
The team will assemble for a three-day camp in South Auckland later this week before heading into the Tongan Test week.
The All Blacks squad is made up of 21 forwards (three hookers, six props, five locks and seven loose forwards) and 15 backs (three halfbacks, two first five–eighths, five midfielders, and five outside backs).
The squad is made up of nine Blues players, eight Chiefs, five Hurricanes, 11 Crusaders and three Highlanders, while 12 of New Zealand’s provinces are represented, with seven Tasman players, five from Canterbury, four each from Auckland, Waikato and Taranaki, three from Wellington and Counties Manukau, two from Hawke’s Bay, and one each from North Harbour, Manawatu, Otago and Southland.
The squad has an average age of 26, a total of 920 caps experience for an average of 25 Test caps per player.
The new All Blacks – mini bios
Born: 22 March 1995
Position: Loose forward
Height, weight: 190cm, 111kg
The son of former All Blacks captain Todd Blackadder, Ethan hails from North Canterbury originally but attended Nelson College. Blackadder was called into the Tasman provincial team in 2016 after a stellar club season. He became a regular starter for Tasman in 2017 as they made their way to the Premiership Final and in 2019, Blackadder helped the side secure its first provincial title. With the ability to play both lock and in the loose forwards, the versatile player made his Crusaders debut in 2018 and has 20 appearances for the Super side.
Born: 19 September 1994
Height, weight: 177cm, 82kg
Born in Scotland, Christie moved to New Zealand aged seven and attended St Kentigern’s College in Auckland before heading to Canterbury to study. He made his provincial debut for Tasman in 2016 and his eye-catching form saw him offered a Chiefs contract in 2017. He played one season for the Chiefs before becoming a key player in Tasman’s run to the Mitre 10 Cup Premiership Final in 2017. He played for the Hurricanes in 2018-2019 and then moved home to the Blues for the 2020 season. Christie is also a former New Zealand gymnastics representative.
Ethan de Groot
Born: 22 July 1998
Height, weight: 190cm, 122kg
Raised in New Zealand’s deep south, the form of 22-year-old loosehead prop Ethan de Groot has been a highlight of the Highlanders campaigns this year. De Groot developed as a player at Southland Boys’ High School and rose through the Rugby Southland Academy and age group teams before making his provincial debut for Southland in 2018. He made two appearances off the bench for the Highlanders last year before becoming a feature of the matchday 23 this year, scoring two tries in the ‘Landers win over the Waratahs in Sky Super Rugby Trans Tasman.
Born: 10 May 1999
Position: Midfield back
Height, weight: 186cm, 97kg
Quinn Tupaea announced his arrival on the provincial scene for Waikato in 2018 after starring at Hamilton Boys’ High School and as New Zealand Schools captain. A powerful runner and skilful with ball in hand, he started in 11 of his 12 appearances that season and was named Waikato Emerging Player of the Year. He took his outstanding form in his debut season with the Chiefs in 2020 and was named Chiefs Rookie of the Year. The club has signed him through to 2023. Tupaea also played for the Māori All Blacks against Moana Pasifika last year.
The 2021 Steinlager Series
1. All Blacks vs Tonga, 7.05PM, Saturday 3 July, plus Māori All Blacks vs Manu Samoa (kick-off 4.30PM), Mt Smart Stadium, AUCKLAND
2. All Blacks vs Fiji, 7.05PM, Saturday 10 July, Forsyth Barr Stadium, DUNEDIN
3. All Blacks vs Fiji, 7.05PM, Saturday 17 July, plus Tonga vs Samoa (kick-off 4.00PM) FMG Stadium Waikato, HAMILTON
Samu Kerevi named in Australia’s squad for Oceania Sevens Championship
Kerevi made the trip home following his stint with Suntory as he pushes for Olympic selection.
He is joined by returning Super Rugby players Lewis Holland, Lachie Anderson and Tim Anstee in their final hit-out before the Tokyo Olympics.
The side is also boosted by the return of Joe Pincus from injury, with Nick Malouf captaining the squad.
“The attitude we took through COVID has delivered a highly competitive squad in which to select from. Players who wouldn’t have dreamt of being considered for selection are now in the mix and representing the program at an elite level,” coach Tim Walsh said in a statement.
“The addition of Samu is a welcome achievement for the program and underpins one of the program’s objectives – Retain, Recruit and Develop the best Australian rugby players.
“We are grateful for the cooperation by Suntory in making Samu an option for selection
“Our objective is to return home from Tokyo and into quarantine with a “No Regret” performance. This will only be achieved with meticulous planning and preparation as a team and as individuals.
“Townsville is a part of final preparations and will offer us an opportunity to play
against some pretty decent opposition including the Oceania Barbarians team.”
Australia will face gold medalists Fiji to kick off the tournament before taking on New Zealand in the evening session.
They will also take on the Oceania Barbarians, which is set to be made up of contracted players from the Sevens program and across the 15-a-side game.
AUSTRALIA’S SQUAD FOR OCEANIA SEVENS CHAMPIONSHIP
1. Pama Fou
2. Nick Malouf (c)
3. Joe Pincus
4. Henry Hutchison
5. Lewis Holland
6. Lachlan Anderson
7. Josh Coward
8. Samu Kerevi
9. Dietrich Roache
10. Dylan Pietsch
11. Josh Turner
12. Lachlan Miller
13. Tim Anstee
Ireland To Take On US Eagles In Las Vegas
Sean O’Brien to retire from rugby
Newcastle Falcons sign former Ulster forward
What rugby is on and where to watch it October – December
Six Nations 2020 – Fixtures & TV Schedule
Farrell Names Ireland’s Six Nations Squad
Premiership1 day ago
Newcastle Falcons sign former Ulster forward
British & Irish Lions1 week ago
Lions Tour update: Kelleher to train with squad
6 Nations1 week ago
Ireland Squad Confirmed For Vodafone Summer Series
Rugby Championship1 week ago
Wallabies announce 38-man squad for France
Premiership1 week ago
London Irish centurion to retire
Pro141 week ago
United Rugby Championship Heralds a New Era for Club Rugby
Rugby Championship2 days ago
Rebels confirm big name departures
Rugby Championship1 week ago
Retallick keen to get back in All Blacks mix