Brumbies aim to keep Pocock quiet
Teams have tried and failed in the past, but the Brumbies believe they have developed a simple plan capable of halting the breakdown influence of star Western Force skipper David Pocock.
Pocock has established himself as the best pilferer in the business, but the Brumbies will try to limit his influence in their Super Rugby clash on Saturday night by forcing him to make more first tackles that go to ground, thus taking him out of the breakdown battle.
To do this, Brumbies coach Jake White is urging his charges to make more direct runs at Pocock and fellow ball scavenger Matt Hodgson, believing the tactic will give his team cleaner and faster ball at the breakdown.
“As it stands, 64 per cent of the time the ball has been stolen or turned over has been by Pocock or Hodgson,” White said ahead of Saturday night’s clash at Perth’s nib Stadium.
“We’ve got to make sure we’re tactically aware of what we’re trying to achieve.
“I think the one thing to do is get Pocock on the ground as many times as we can.
“The thing he enjoys the most is getting there second and winning the ball. So maybe we’ve got to try to get him to be there first.
“Maybe sometimes the best way to do it is make him make that first tackle.
“One of the secrets is trying to find him early on and make sure he gets on the ground as many times without letting him get there second.”
The Brumbies can take a giant stride towards locking up top spot in the Australian conference with a win over the Force.
But the 13th-placed Force will be no easybeats as they attempt to celebrate the final home game of stalwart Nathan Sharpe with a win.
“We’ve got to be aware of that sort of emotion that’s coming into the game, but stay focused on our detail,” Brumbies skipper Ben Mowen said.
“They’re a difficult team to play because of the pressure they apply at the breakdown, so we won’t be taking them lightly.
“I think the breakdown is going to be the key to seeing who gets the ascendancy in terms of being able to play.”
White said his team were also riding a wave of emotion as they try to qualify for the finals for the first time since 2004.
The Force were dealt a blow at training on Thursday when prop Salesi Ma’afu fractured his arm, ruling the Wallaby out for the remaining three games of the year.© AAP 2013
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