Rugby World Cup: Australia name Samo on the wing

Radike Samo. Photo / Getty Images
Radike Samo. Photo / Getty Images

Radike Samo will start on the wing and star flanker David Pocock returns for Australia's Rugby World Cup pool match against Russia in Nelson on Saturday.

Pocock has missed Australia's past two games, including the shock 15-6 loss to Ireland, with a back injury and will be a welcome addition as the Wallabies eye a likely quarter-final next week with South Africa.

Pocock's inclusion will also allow Ben McCalman to start in his preferred No.8 role and Scott Higginbotham to line up at blindside flanker.

With five backline players unavailable to coach Robbie Deans this weekend, Samo has been forced from the back row to the right wing.

Deans has no doubt the combination selected for the weekend can get the result needed to secure Australia's position in the quarter-finals.

"While there are various permutations as to where we might finish, we need to win first and foremost. No one in our group is looking beyond this match,'' Deans said.

"The Russians won't be easy. They will be excited about the prospect of playing against a top-tier nation and will be looking to finish their first Rugby World Cup with a strong performance. They have been competitive in their three matches to date and scored two tries against Ireland.''

Deans said the inclusion of all three squad halfbacks, and all three hookers, was caused by the team's injury circumstance, as was the inclusion of Samo on the wing.

"We've had to be a bit creative but it's never been about the number on their back,'' he said.

"The players all know the role-play.

"While some of them might be out of their normal positions, they won't let us down and will enjoy the opportunity.

"We saw that last week with Radike (Samo) and Tatafu (Polota Nau) in the match against the United States.''

Australia: James O'Connor, Radike Samo, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Berrick Barnes, Drew Mitchell, Quade Cooper, Luke Burgess, Ben McCalman, David Pocock, Scott Higginbotham, Nathan Sharpe, James Horwill (capt), Sekope Kepu, Stephen Moore, James Slipper. Res: Tatafu Polota Nau, Saia Faingaa, Salesi Maafu, Rob Simmons, Rocky Elsom, Will Genia, Nick Phipps.


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