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Pocock to be eased back

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Sportal.co.nz     26 Oct 2012     Getty Images

A knee injury kept Pocock out of the Rugby Championship and Deans admitted the 24-year-old is still on the road to full fitness.

While the first Test against France on November 10 would most likely be too soon for Pocock to return, Deans was hopeful of welcoming Pocock back a week later against England at Twickenham, ahead of a clash with Italy in Florence (November 24) and Wales at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium (December 1).

Veteran Nathan Sharpe will continue to captain the side with Deans insisting it's more important for Pocock to focus on his fitness rather than on the captaincy.

"He [Pocock] has got to get himself in a position to get himself selected in the first instance," Deans said on Thursday.

"That allows him just to concentrate on getting back into the game.

"Sharpie's in the groove, he's doing a great job, and it allows Poey to re-enter the fray.

Deans dismissed suggestions that Pocock might feel aggrieved about not reclaiming the captain's armband.

"Just to be a Wallaby is a privilege and he's been around long enough now to understand that," Deans said.

"He's seen in this group that it's not so much whether you're in or out of the group, it's about what you do when you are there."