Being part of the Wallabies leadership group should come with a health warning, with captain David Pocock the latest senior figure to succumb to injury.

Openside flanker Pocock suffered damage to the articular cartilage in his right knee in the first half of Saturday's 27-19 loss to New Zealand in the Rugby Championship opener.

Halfback Will Genia will lead Australia in their return Bledisloe Cup bout with the All Blacks in Auckland on Saturday.

Genia captained Australia once before in a World Cup victory over the United States last year, when James Horwill was rested.

"He responds to that sort of responsibility, and I've got no doubt he will do so here," coach Robbie Deans said of Genia.

Pocock said he wouldn't find out how long he was likely to be sidelined until after undergoing keyhole surgery on Tuesday.

"He (the surgeon) said he wanted to avoid putting a timeline on it till after he actually got in there to have a look," Pocock said.

Lock and first-choice captain Horwill (hamstring), Pocock, and backs James O'Connor (hamstring) and Pat McCabe (foot) are all injured.

Neither Deans or Genia was worried about any shortage of leadership, both nominating lock and former Force captain Nathan Sharpe as an obvious senior figure.

In Pocock's absence, either Michael Hooper or Liam Gill will start on Saturday, with Deans suggesting the former's greater background with the team might be enough to earn the Brumby-turned-Waratah the starting spot.

Hooper earned his first three caps off the bench in the June Tests against Scotland and Wales, while the uncapped Gill was overseas captaining the Australian under 20 team.

"They are both good players. Obviously Michael has got more background with us," Deans said.

"Liam hasn't had a start yet, so that probably gives Michael the advantage."

NZ Newswire

More Sport News