Brumbies recruit David Pocock denies he has any designs on Ben Mowen’s captaincy while the Super Rugby club believe they can get the best out of the flanker’s attacking game.
Pocock, who is recovering from knee surgery, arrived in Canberra this week to begin light training with the Brumbies, where he’s set to spend the next three seasons after severing ties with the Western Force.
The move prompted speculation Mowen could be asked to step aside for Pocock – who replaced the injured James Horwill as Wallabies captain this season and led the Perth-based club – or even that it was a lure that helped persuade the flanker to sign.
But Pocock said on Friday the issue had never come up in discussions with coach Jake White and considered it a null issue.
Asked if he was considering putting his hand up for the role, he said: “No.
“That doesn’t concern me one bit as far as I’m concerned.
“Playing against them last year Ben was great for them, so I’m very happy with that.”
Pocock said the deciding factor in the move was just his rugby development.
He believes there’s room to improve, and he can do it surrounded by experienced coaches such as White, Stephen Larkham and Laurie Fisher.
“I don’t think (winning a Super Rugby title) was part of it,” Pocock said.
“It was just deciding where was going to be best for my rugby.
“I felt the better opportunity was here to prove myself and challenge myself.”
And Fisher agreed the man widely considered the world’s best openside flanker still had areas to work on.
“Dave would be the premier defensive No.7 in the competition … but David’s attacking game is an area where we can make improvements in terms of yardage, in terms of contact yardage, in terms of gain line,” said the forwards coach.
He denied Pocock’s recruitment in place of NSW-bound Michael Hooper – who was lauded for his attacking abilities – would force a change in the Brumbies’ style of play.
Fisher said much of the Brumbies’ pre-season was about nursing the injured back to full health, with the franchise boasting a jaw-dropping 13 players currently on the mend from surgery.
But he was confident the young squad was destined for the playoffs after the agony of 2012’s near-miss.
“The genesis of our revival last season has been in hard work,” Fisher said.
“And I’ve only seen that work ethic improve in that time, so I’m confident that we’ll get everybody back on deck and they’ll be a step ahead of where they were this year.”