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Wallabies can avoid lineout woes: Pocock

AAP logoAAP 3/11/2016 Joe Barton

The Wallabies are confident their shaky lineout won't be overrun in their Spring Tour opener against Wales, despite coach Michael Cheika admitting his reservations about picking a smaller, experimental backrow.

Cheika has deployed the versatile 196cm Dean Mumm at blindside flanker this year, a move with designs to support the young lock pairing of Adam Coleman and Rory Arnold in the lineout.

Mumm's one-week suspension has thrown a spanner in the works this week and, rather than banking on the 198cm Scott Fardy, Cheika has opted to move former captain David Pocock to No.6 for the first time in his career.

At 184cm Pocock gives up nearly 10cms on his Welsh opponent Dan Lydiate and, while an expert at the breakdown, the lineout has typically proven to be the 28-year-old's kryptonite.

He was showing no fear when quizzed about the challenge on Thursday, saying Australia will adapt.

"We've been practising our lineouts. All of us can jump," he said.

"We've just got to back our drills there."

Cheika was more forthcoming, admitting the lineout would cop a hit this weekend in order to give Australia more strength across the park - namely at the breakdown where Pocock and No.7 Michael Hooper will go head-to-head with the Welsh ball thieves.

"There's no doubt that David Pocock as a straight swap for (Mumm) won't give him the same area of skills (in the lineout), but at the same time (Pocock) has got other strengths that I'm sure we'll be able to use in the game," Cheika said.

"We'll just have to be very excellent in our skill delivery from the lineout.

"It's been an area we've improved on over the season and we'll have to be very good with what we do but we should be doing that anyway.

"I believe it's a selection that can work and I'm looking forward to seeing them play together."

In another blow for Australia's lineout consistency, reserve hooker James Hanson's tour is in severe doubt after he picked up a small fracture in his jaw at training this week.

The 28-year-old's unfortunate injury, for which he has already had surgery, opens the door for young Waratahs hooker Tolu Latu to earn his first cap.

Cheika was optimistic about Hanson's chances of recovering in time to play some part in the tour, but should he be ruled out his likely replacement - Andrew Ready - is currently in London with the Barbarians, and will face South Africa on Saturday.

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