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“Hooper has to start but Pocock will be more effective from the bench”: Stephen Hoiles

Waratahs player and former Wallaby Stephen Hoiles believes Michael Hooper needs to start for the Wallabies in the upcoming Rugby World Cup but David Pocock may be more effective coming off the bench later in games.

Pocock is one of the Wallabies greatest ever players but the configuration of the back-row and whether to include both Pocock and captain Michael Hooper shapes as one of Australia’s biggest selection headaches ahead of the Rugby World Cup.

Hoiles gave his opinion this morning on Macquarie Sports Radio saying, “They can be on the field at the same time together but it’s probably better and more potent when they’re on the field at the back-end of the game.”

“Hooper has to start, he’s the Wallabies captain. Pocock has only played 60 minutes of footy in about 6 months,” he added.

“Although he’s an incredibly fit human, match-play is different to training-play and I just think he’s going to be so dangerous for the Wallabies if he comes on late in games.”

“Maybe they can experiment at certain stages throughout the pools but I’d prefer to see Pocock come on in the back end of the game, maybe with 30 to go, and have Hooper and Pocock on the field together then.”

Fans will have a much clearer idea of what coach Michael Cheika plans to do with both players when the Wallabies lineup for their World Cup opener against Fiji on Saturday.