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Pocock's back scare ahead of Irish game

Wallabies flanker David Pocock missed Friday's match-eve training with a back strain ahead of the weekend's key World Cup pool game against Ireland at Auckland's Eden Park. Pocock, the only specialist open-side breakaway selected in Australia's 30-man squad, sat out the Captain's Run at Eden Park on Friday.

"At this stage it was just a precautionary measure and we'll see how he pulls up in the morning with tightness in his back," a team spokesman said.

"We're not sure at this stage whether he will be okay, but we'll see how he is in the morning."

If Pocock is unavailable for Saturday's game it will present coach Robbie Deans with a dilemma with backrower Ben McCalman as his likely replacement.

"He's just a little tight and we just want to be pretty careful with him," skipper James Horwill said at the team match-eve press conference. "He didn't want to push it, but I believe he will be okay after speaking to him."

Horwill said Pocock will make a decision on whether he will take the field against the Irish in the defining game of the pool for the two teams. "Pocock will play if he's right and he'll make that call along with the doctor and the medical staff. AFP

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