Wallabies handed huge boost with returns of Pocock and Folau ahead of Argentina semi-final
David Pocock returns to the Australian side after missing the quarter-final against Scotland (image via: foxsports.com.au)

Australian head coach Michael Cheika has named his side for Sunday's Rugby World Cup semi-final against Argentina, and has had the luxury of recalling Israel Folau and David Pocock

Arguably Australia's best back and best forward, the pair's return from injury is a massive boost for the Wallabies ahead of their crunch tie against the Pumas at Twickenham

There is less positive news on the injury front when it comes to the front-row, with Scott Sio missing out because of a shoulder injury. Sio's place in the side goes to James Slipper, the man who nearly cost his side with the late intercept pass in the last-gasp win over Scotland.

Folau & Pocock returns make Wallabies favourites to progress

Cheika waited as long as possible to name his side for Sunday's semi-final, to allow his two stars as much time to prove their fitness as possible. 

It has paid off with Pocock and Folau overcoming their issues, allowing them to return to the starting lineup in place of Ben McCalman and Kurtley Beale, who each drop to the substitutes bench. 

The returning duo took a full part in Friday's training session and will have to recover well and train again on Saturday before their places are truly confirmed in the lineup. 

Hooper to become youngest half-centurion

Flanker Michael Hooper is to become the youngest ever Wallaby to reach 50 test matches when he takes to the field on Sunday. 

The vice-captain will line up alongside Pocock and Scott Fardy in Australia's back-row, and the trio will have a huge part to play in Sunday's game against an equally-excellent Puma back-row unit. 

Hooper and Pocock have gained a lot of plaudits before and during the tournament for their impact on the Wallaby team, with their partner in crime Fardy often overlooked. 

"I like being in the shadows and not being as noticed as much as those two, it's quite enjoyable," said the Brumbies star, who has become a crucial part of the team. 

"It doesn't change anything week to week from what I have to do. I just play and he (Cheika) works out the balance before the game and picks the team accordingly."

Slipper to break Wallaby prop cap record

Having thrown an interception pass to give Scotland the lead with just five minutes of their quarter-final remaining, James Slipper might have thought that he had cost his nation and teammates a chance of winning their third World Cup. 

The Queensland Reds captain has been given another chance after being bailed out by Bernard Foley's late penalty, and will now start for the Wallabies owing to Sio's arm injury. 

Sio and Sekope Kepu had forged an excellent partnership in the front-row alongside skipper Stephen Moore in a redifined area of strength for the team at scrum-time under the tutelage of Mario Ledesma. 

Now Slipper must take over from Sio against one of the most powerful scrums in the world, against Ledesma's countrymen. 

He has the experience to succeed though, with Sunday set to be his 73rd test match for the Wallabies, breaking a national record for prop forwards. 

Head coach Cheika has full belief in Slipper taking over, "James has been pushing for a starting spot with his performances as a finisher and I know he’ll take it with both hands.

“James is a leader in our squad and has performed well through this tournament so far and in the lead-up matches."

Outside of Pocock, Folau and Slipper, the other 12 starters remain the same from last Sunday's quarter-final victory. 

Wingers Drew Mitchell and Adam Ashley-Cooper will look to keep up their excellent scoring record at World Cup's, whilst centre pairing Matt Giteau and Tevita Kuridrani will have to dominate the gain-line once more. 

How the Wallabies lineup

1. James Slipper, 2. Stephen Moore (captain), 3. Sekope Kepu 
4. Kane Douglas, 5. Rob Simmons 
6. Scott Fardy, 7. Michael Hooper, 8. David Pocock 
9. Will Genia, 10. Bernard Foley 
11. Drew Mitchell, 12. Matt Giteau, 13. Tevita Kuridrani, 14. Adam Ashley-Cooper, 15. Israel Folau 

Replacements: 16. Tatafu Polota-Nau, 17. Toby Smith, 18. Greg Holmes, 19. Dean Mumm, 20. Ben McCalman, 21. Nick Phipps, 22. Matt Toomua, 23. Kurtley Beale 

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