Wallabies coach Michael Cheika hopes he can finally launch champion flanker David Pocock into action in the second Bledisloe Cup Test in Auckland on Saturday week.
Sidelined since March by a particularly troublesome calf injury and not considered for the Bledisloe opener in Perth on Saturday, Pocock is cutting it fine to get any game time at all before the World Cup.
But Cheika says Pocock appears almost ready, with the Eden Park match a real possibility.
“He has trained all week with the team, slightly modified but this is the most he has done with the team so he is getting very close,” Cheika said.
“He will train fully with the team today and I am hoping he will be available next week.”
After the second Bledisloe Test, the Wallabies have only a Test against Samoa in Sydney before they begin their World Cup campaign in Japan in September.
Cheika saidhe remained unwilling to push his veteran trump card with the World Cup the clear priority.
“What we have tried to do with David is not set a day, this is when we want him,” he said.
“Because that’s what happened during the season, we kept trying to get him back on this day or those games, and we kept pushing, and we fell short every time.
“So we are just going to get to the next milestone and he has one today, an important one, and if we get through that we will see how he lands.”
The Wallabies need to win at Optus Stadium on Saturday to have any chance of securing the Bledisloe Cup for the first time since 2002.