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Pocock to captain Aussies against Baa-Baas

Updated: Thursday, 24 Nov 2011 10:54

Pocock - Will lead out Australia at Twixkenham
Pocock - Will lead out Australia at Twixkenham

Flanker David Pocock will debut as captain for Australia in their match against the invitational Barbarians team at Twickenham on Saturday.

Regular captain James Horwill has been named in the reserves to rest after a taxing season and give Pocock some leadership experience, the team said in a statement on Thursday.

"While he ended the rugby World Cup with a bit of a shoulder niggle, James (Horwill) is in good nick, given the load that he has carried," Australia coach Robbie Deans said.

"We just felt that this was a good opportunity, both to lessen the load on James, while also giving David the chance to gain experience captaining the side."

Horwill aside, the starting forward pack is otherwise unchanged to the side that beat Wales in the bronze medal match at the World Cup.

Utility back James O'Connor will start at flyhalf in Quade Cooper's absence with the New Zealand-born playmaker sidelined with a serious knee injury.

Berrick Barnes was named at inside centre with Rob Horne at centre and Adam Ashley-Cooper at fullback.

Australia have won their last seven matches against the Barbarians, their last a 55-7 thrashing at Sydney Football Stadium in 2009.

The Barbarians will be coached by the All Blacks' World Cup-winning former coach Graham Henry and his long-time assistant Steve Hansen.

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