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Live: Folau responds to conspiracy theory

THE Wallabies have to defend 35-years of history when Argentina tries to crash Australia’s incredible winning record against the Pumas on home soil.Coach Michael Cheika has had to deal with more late withdrawals after captain Michael Hooper was forced to pull out with a hamstring injury earlier this week.Star David Pocock will captain Australia in the No. 7 jumper.The Wallabies also welcome back Israel Folau, who has been shifted to the wing to keep Dane Haylett-Petty at fullback.Kick-off from Cbus Super Stadium on the Gold Coast is scheduled for just after 8pm (AEST).Folau responds to conspiracy theoryWing and a prayer.Source:News Corp AustraliaWallabies star Israel Folau has awkwardly laughed off suggestions he’s set to walk out on the Waratahs to join the Queensland Reds next year.In a massive week for the code-hopping star where he was also named to return to the wing for the Wallabies’ Gold Coast clash with Argentina, Folau also refused to deny suggestions he will move to the Reds next season in order to be with netball star wife Maria Folau.The Kiwi netballer has left her New Zealand team, sparking rumours she could be on the move to the Sunshine Coast Lightning in a move which would allow her and Israel to live together in Queensland.Former Wallaby Greg Martin presented his “conspiracy theory” about Folau’s future on Triple M on Friday, where the former NRL and AFL star admitted the idea sounds pretty good to him,“I wouldn’t mind that, but she’s got her own career going on and so do I,” Folau said.“She’s got a bit of time to think about what we’ll do.”He also admitted there have been conversations between him and his wife about a Queensland move.“There have been. We’d like to be in the same place at the same time, but if it doesn’t work out that way, it’s something that we’ve been used to that for a few years within our relationship.“She doesn’t have long in her career so whatever suits best for her she’ll go for it.”TEAMSAustralia: 15 Dane Haylett-Petty, 14 Israel Folau, 13 Reece Hodge, 12 Marika Koroibete, 11 Matt Toomua, 10 Kurtley Beale, 9 Will Genia, 8 Pete Samu, 7 DavidPocock (capt), 6 Lukhan Tui, 5 Izack Rodda, 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Allan Alaalatoa, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Scott Sio.Reserves: Folau Faingaa, SekopeKepu, Taniela Tupou, Adam Coleman, Ned Hanigan, Nick Phipps, Bernard Foley, Jack Maddocks.Argentina: Emiliano Boffelli, Bautista Delguy, Matias Moroni, Jeronimo De La Fuente, Ramiro Moyano, Nicolas Sanchez, GonzaloBertranou, Javier Ortega Desio, Marcos Kremer, Pablo Matera, Tomas Lavanini, Guido Petti, Santiago Medrano, Agustin Creevy(capt), Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro. Res: Julian Montoya, Santiago Garcia Botta, Juan Pablo Zeiss, Matias Alemanno, Juan ManuelLeguizamon, Martin Landajo, Bautista Ezcurra, Juan Cruz Mallia.Pocock still carrying Bledisloe woundsDavid Pocock admits he may have to manage his war-torn neck for the rest of his career as he prepares to make his Wallabies return as captain. The flanker will step in for injured skipper Michael Hooper (hamstring) against Argentina on the Gold Coast on Saturday after missing last week’s defeat of South Africa.The injury is a result of Pocock’s dominance at the breakdown, with opponents pulling and twisting at his neck in an attempt to remove him from is position over the ball.World Rugby maintains a strong stance on issues such as high tackles, dangerous play and intentional knockdowns but no action has been taken to penalise any illegal neck-rolling that has led to Pocock’s discomfort this year.While confident he hasproved his fitness to clash with Los Pumas, Pocock admits he will need to sit down next week and establish some long-term safeguards.“It’s something I’ll have to talk to medical staff about and have a bit of a plan,” he said.“I’ve got through enough contact (at training this week) to give me the confidence to play and that’s the focus at the moment.”Argentina boast an imposing forward pack but coach Mario Ledesma, who built his resume as the Wallabies’ forwards coach for three years, won’t resort to illegal tactics to stop Australia’s pilfering master.“Trying to be before him, beat him to the ruck,” Ledesma said when asked how to counter Pocock.“But everybody tries and not everyone succeeds.” Argentina carry plenty of zip in their backline, too, and could be hard to handle at what is expected to be a fast Cbus Super Stadium surface perfect for free-flowing rugby.Factoring in Israel Folau’s aerial threat, Ledesma says his biggest focus has been preparing for the Wallabies’ first-phase play.Both sides boast a 1-2 record in the Rugby Championship with the victor set to move into outright second if New Zealand beat South Africa.Australia are aiming for back-to-back wins while the visitors were plucky in a loss to New Zealand last week that followed a comfortable defeat of the Springboks on home soil.— AP

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