Rugby Championship

Pocock relishes prospect of McCaw clash

2015-07-28 14:09
David Pocock (Gallo)

Melbourne - Australia flank David Pocock is relishing the prospect of facing All Blacks captain Richie McCaw again after two seasons wiped out by knee injuries.

Pocock started at openside flank in Australia's 34-9 win against Argentina on Saturday, his first match in the number seven shirt in over two and a half years, and his performance earned high praise from Wallabies coach Michael Cheika.

Australia will clash with the world champion All Blacks in the abridged Rugby Championship title-decider in two weeks, a match likely to be McCaw's swansong on Australian soil.

Before undergoing two knee reconstructions that forced him to miss the 2013 and 2014 seasons, Pocock's match-ups with McCaw were billed as unofficial battles for the title of the world's best openside flank.

Pocock may have a chance to re-stake his claim in the August 8 match in Sydney against 34-year-old McCaw, who is expected to bow out of rugby after the All Blacks' World Cup defence.

"It's always a big occasion playing the All Blacks and he's been right up there for a very long time," the 27-year-old Pocock said in comments published by the Sydney Morning Herald.

"He's a player I really respect and (I) relish those moments."

A ferocious tackler and ball-pilferer, Pocock replaced Michael Hooper for the Argentina match after the former captain started at seven in the tight home win against South Africa.

Pundits have urged Cheika to try both players in the back row and the coach duly obliged in Mendoza by having Pocock shift to number eight when Hooper came off the bench.

Barring injury, both are almost certain to feature in the World Cup squad which will go some way to correcting a historical error before the last tournament.

Former coach Robbie Deans had Pocock as his sole openside in his 2011 squad, which backfired when the Brumby player was injured ahead of a tournament-defining pool match against Ireland.

Australia lost, and though Pocock returned to play an important role in the quarter-final win over South Africa, the Wallabies were condemned to face the eventual champion All Blacks in the last four.

"Competition is exactly what you want to be having," Pocock said.

"The only year we were struggling was in 2011 going into the World Cup and we only took one No 7 and that stung us a bit.

"It's great with Hoops out there because we enjoy feeding off each other."


What To Read Next


Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team

Is Allister Coetzee the right man to coach the Springboks?

Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter


With the Absa Premiership in full swing, who will be crowned champions when all is said and done? Will Mamelodi Sundowns defend their title? Or can Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates or Bidvest Wits mount a serious challenge? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.