Will RWC final be 'Battle of the Breakdown?'

2015-10-29 18:34
David Pocock (Gallo)

Bagshot - Richie McCaw has declared New Zealand ready for the battle of the breakdown, as the World Cup final has been billed, when they will front Australia's twin threat of Michael Hooper and David Pocock.

The Wallaby pair, working with the forceful tackling of Scott Fardy, have established Australian dominance at the crucial breakdown area.

Pocock leads the turnover count with 14, six more than New Zealand's best Kieran Read.

The battle between Hooper, Pocock and Fardy against McCaw, Read and Jerome Kaino is where the World Cup is likely to be won or lost at Twickenham on Saturday and McCaw said he was relishing the confrontation.

"Absolutely. We've had some good challenges over the years, a couple of games this year were a good challenge. It's the type of game you want to be involved in," he said Thursday.

"We realise we need to be on the job and limit their influence as much as possible and hopefully our back row can impose ourself.

"There no doubt give the Wallabies quick ball, front foot ball, and a loose forward trio with those two in it can make your day a pretty tough one."

The Wallabies backs may get the credit for scoring tries but the key work is done at the breakdown and the turnover ball secured by Hooper and Pocock as twin scavengers, has given them a distinct advantage throughout the tournament.

But Kaino said the All Blacks could not afford to focus solely on the Wallabies three loose forwards.

"We know what's ahead and our focus is on what we need to do to hopefully dominate that breakdown area.

"They work quite well with each other and it's not just their loose forwards as a lot of their front rowers are strong over the ball. For us it's a focus on them as a team."

Steve Hansen, the astute All Blacks coach who has steered his side to 48 wins from 53 matches since taking over in 2012, said it would be a mistake to focus on just Pocock and Hooper.

"They're obviously a threat along with Fardy," he said

"But Australia have enough good players for us to be worried about all of them rather than just a couple so we would be very foolish if we just focussed on two."

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