Australia captain Michael Hooper backs injured David Pocock to return for World Cup
Last Updated: 29/05/19 7:46am
Australia captain Michael Hooper is confident David Pocock will shrug off a calf injury in time to help the Wallabies' bid to win a third World Cup.
Pocock retired from Super Rugby on Tuesday to maximise his chances of getting fit for the tournament in Japan.
The 31-year-old had played only 138 minutes over three matches for the Brumbies in Super Rugby this season because of a succession of injuries, most recently a serious calf muscle strain.
Australia's first match in the World Cup is against Fiji on September 21. They have been drawn in Pool D, which also contains Wales, Georgia and Uruguay.
"I think he'll be there," Hooper told reporters at the unveiling of the Wallabies' 2019 tournament jersey in Sydney on Wednesday.
"One thing about Dave, aside from his calf, he keeps himself in amazing condition - and that's hard to do when one of the main things to run with isn't functioning."
After coming back from a sabbatical last year, Pocock won the John Eales Medal as Australia's top player, a bright spot in a disappointing season of only four wins from 13 matches for Michael Cheika's side.
Hooper said Pocock's 2018 season was proof the former ACT Brumbies flanker could hit the ground running.
"We saw last year from being out for a while and then how he comes back in and can just pull together some amazing performance from not much rugby," Hooper said.
"His skill set is such quality and he's so defined in what he does on the field, he's able to come in and make an immediate impact.
"So, look, I'm betting he'll be there."
With an injury cloud over Pocock, and try-scoring fullback Israel Folau sacked for a controversial social media post, Australia's odds of winning a third World Cup in Japan have ballooned to 17-1 for some bookmakers.
Double defending champions New Zealand are heavy favourites.
"Is that what we're at, 17-1?" Hooper said when told of the odds on Wednesday. "I can't bet on it but that is juicy there."