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Pocock's no Hooper, but he might be a hooker

Just make sure David Pocock is on the field. That's pretty straightforward, no? (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)
Roar Pro
16th September, 2014
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5101 Reads

Many of us have applauded Michael Hooper’s play at 7 for the Waratahs and Wallabies during the last two years. He rarely has a bad game and his style of play certainly fits the bill required by Michael Cheika and Ewen McKenzie.

Hooper has developed into a world class openside flanker.

However over the last two seasons we have seen virtually none of David Pocock’s play on the rugby field.

Pocock’s return in 2015 will initiate debate as to whom between Hooper and Pocock should be the Wallaby 7 – especially during a Rugby World Cup year.

So what do the two bring to the table?

Hooper has the better all-round game. He is quicker, has good defence, good hands, runs and carries the ball extremely well, backs up play and links well with the backs, and is an inspirational leader.

Pocock plays tighter, has good defence, is excellent at the pilfer, extremely strong over the ball, carries ok in tight but is slower around the field, and rarely passes or links with the backs. Pocock did not get much of a chance to showcase his leadership skills so it is unfair to judge on that ability.

So we have two players with differing styles who both play 7 and whom the Wallabies would ideally like to have on the field at the same time. So how do we achieve this?

Currently the Wallabies are down to the fourth and fifth-choice hookers.

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Our number one and two hookers, Stephen Moore and Tatafu Polata-Nau, are 31 and 29 respectively. David Pocock is 26.

Pocock is the right height for a hooker. He has incredible upper body and core strength. Is it too late for a positional change to turn Pocock into a hooker?

I don’t have the depth of knowledge to answer the technical issues, however it might be a solution to both future Brumby and Wallaby hooking issues.

Currently at 7 we have Hooper and Liam Gill is not far behind. Pocock may have difficulty climbing back up that tree, especially in a year where the Brumbies coaching staff may prefer to bring him back slowly to ensure a full recovery from his knee issues.

Could Pocock be converted to a hooker, playing off the bench at the Brumbies, spelling Moore, getting maybe 20 minutes a game, learning the hooking arts and gaining confidence in his knee?

I see him as an Aussie Bismarck du Plessis. He would be an ideal hooker for the modern game.