Brumbies to be boosted by David Pocock’s return

By Oliver Caffrey,

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    Brumbies coach Dan McKellar says David Pocock is in line for an eagerly awaited Super Rugby return against the NSW Waratahs on Saturday week.

    The 29-year-old openside flanker has been cleared by medical staff and is almost certain to take on the Waratahs at GIO Stadium on March 31 after the side’s bye weekend.

    McKellar said he would have no hesitation slotting Pocock straight back into the starting XV if he thought it was best for player and team.

    Pocock had surgery to repair damage to his meniscus in January, delaying his comeback to Super Rugby after a year-long sabbatical from the game.

    A battle for the No.7 jersey will be on after with Tom Cusack performed well in Saturday night’s win over the Sharks.

    “I think ‘Poey’ could start and perform well straight up because he’s been around a long time now and he’s in peak physical condition, as he always is,” McKellar said.

    “What he brings in terms of that on-ball presence and he’s managed to get a bit of work in there, but Tom Cusack has been playing well.

    “While it was disappointing he got the injury, four weeks in now and on the back of some heavy travel we’ll get a boost by having David back in the team.”

    After breaking a two-game losing streak against the Sharks to stay in touch with the top of the Australian conference, the Brumbies could get a double boost by getting co-captain Sam Carter back.

    The Wallabies lock suffered a concussion against the Melbourne Rebels and missed the Sharks clash, but has been back at training this week.

    McKellar said Carter should be available despite “some lingering issues” and would have to pass medical tests first.

    The news isn’t as good for veteran Josh Mann-Rea, who is facing up to six weeks out with a torn hamstring.

    © AAP 2018

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    The Crowd Says (29)

    • March 20th 2018 @ 3:39pm
      Sweaty Prop said | March 20th 2018 @ 3:39pm | ! Report

      The Brumbies did OK on the weekend without either Pocock or Carter. The REDS have been progressing well without Higginbotham. Maybe there is a message in that.

      Teams with younger players who are developing some form in the absence of their “stars” should be rewarded.

      • March 20th 2018 @ 4:59pm
        Cal said | March 20th 2018 @ 4:59pm | ! Report

        Rewarded how?
        I’ve always rated higgaz and think he will only add to these reds.
        Pococks a one trick pony…one good trick though.
        What will interesting is if cheika will play the pooper combination again this June. I find his arrogance suggests he will.
        My moneys on:
        6. Hannigan
        7. Hooper
        8. Pocock
        This new look Irish team will have a field day with these guys.

      • Roar Guru

        March 20th 2018 @ 6:50pm
        pformagg said | March 20th 2018 @ 6:50pm | ! Report

        Maybe reserve judgement on Pocock after he plays a few games. It is like saying the Crusaders are ok without Read playing.

        • March 23rd 2018 @ 6:49pm
          Taylorman said | March 23rd 2018 @ 6:49pm | ! Report

          Well they are arent they?

    • March 20th 2018 @ 5:07pm
      cuw said | March 20th 2018 @ 5:07pm | ! Report

      i think the star so far for Brumbies 3rd row has been Lachlan McCaffrey.

      everyone expected great things from Isi Naisarani – its the 6 who has impressed a lot .

      they just may have the best 3rd row when Pocock joins .

    • Roar Guru

      March 20th 2018 @ 5:20pm
      PeterK said | March 20th 2018 @ 5:20pm | ! Report

      Pocock is improve the brumbies significantly

    • March 20th 2018 @ 5:56pm
      Malo said | March 20th 2018 @ 5:56pm | ! Report

      How long will he last?

      • March 21st 2018 @ 7:10am
        riddler said | March 21st 2018 @ 7:10am | ! Report

        i hope he lasts a long, long time..

        he is a true legend of the sport..

    • March 20th 2018 @ 11:00pm
      Johnno said | March 20th 2018 @ 11:00pm | ! Report

      It would be unfair for Tom Cusak if he was dropped for Pocock as he’s playing well.

      • Roar Guru

        March 21st 2018 @ 9:00am
        PeterK said | March 21st 2018 @ 9:00am | ! Report

        nothing unfair in professional sport in the better player being picked

        • March 21st 2018 @ 9:18am
          Puff said | March 21st 2018 @ 9:18am | ! Report

          Last Saturday was a must win for the Brumbies, particularly at home and their first this season at GIO stadium. Tom Cusack is worthy of his position in the starting 15 and with the change to the tackle breakdown rule, Pocock’s effectiveness may not be as telling. Many supporters of this site are DP enthusiasts and perhaps rightly so but it is too early to sing his praise.

          • March 21st 2018 @ 9:39am
            Fionn said | March 21st 2018 @ 9:39am | ! Report

            There are arguments for reintroducing Pocock via the bench, but it isn’t about being ‘fair’. When Dan Carter came back from injury it was bad luck to the flyhalf who has been playing for the All Blacks.

            Tom would completely understand if he was benched if Pocock returned.

          • March 21st 2018 @ 10:17am
            Markus said | March 21st 2018 @ 10:17am | ! Report

            Pocock is one of the few current world class Wallabies, and has repeatedly demonstrated himself as a match-winner at all levels. At what point would it no longer be too early to sing his praise?

            Cusack has played reasonably well (though not great on Saturday), but has not shown any form that would demand keeping even a potentially rusty Pocock out of the starting XV.

            • March 21st 2018 @ 1:25pm
              Puff said | March 21st 2018 @ 1:25pm | ! Report

              Markus, the basics that DP was extremely competent at and probably still is. Are now fundaments for a large number for younger players? The Crusaders are a very good example, 12 front line players out through injury and these younger kids keep stepping up. In the modern game, in my opinion, his skill set is becoming more one dimensional. He is very much ball in hand, his is not a jumper in the lineout, ordinary passing skills, can’t kick and perhaps to slow to be a link player for the outside backs but great in the middle of the paddock. We have this notion of placing players up on pedestals. I agree the gent was world class but never the best.

              • March 21st 2018 @ 2:24pm
                Fionn said | March 21st 2018 @ 2:24pm | ! Report

                Hmmmm, I’m not sure how much of the facts you purport to write are actually based on facts rather than fantasy.

                And then there’s your opinions, which also seem spurious and unlikely.

              • March 21st 2018 @ 4:37pm
                Puff said | March 21st 2018 @ 4:37pm | ! Report

                Fionn, most of this site is based on opinion or amateur experts, including you. It is very difficult to know how quickly David will adjust to Super Rugby. But, if his first game is against the Tah’s it will not be a simple assignment. Then with the NZ teams around the corner starting at Forsyth stadium, we will see how he travels. But, after Japan, issues with recurring injuries and all his other off field interests, I would be pleasantly surprised if his proficiency skills are still at the same high level.

              • March 21st 2018 @ 7:02pm
                Fionn said | March 21st 2018 @ 7:02pm | ! Report

                Why would playing against the Tahs need be a simple assignment? Granted, they played an excellent half of rugby, but it is certainly better than playing against the Lions or any of the New Zealand sides.

                Hooper, whatever he is, is not a great player at the breakdown (and neither is Hanigan or Holloway) and the Waratahs have only won 2 matches thus far. It isn’t like being reintroduced to the sport by playing against the Hurricanes in the cake tin.

              • March 21st 2018 @ 9:10pm
                cuw said | March 21st 2018 @ 9:10pm | ! Report

                Crusaders as far as i have seen have not played any young guys.

                my definition of young guys in super rugger is someone who has played at under 20 the previos year – then had a good miter 10 season – and now playing in super rugger.

                the only guys i can recall from the last under 20 are Falcon , Aumua , Fidow and Jacobson ( maybe there are more but i cant recall).

                CALEB CLARKE of course played for the NZ 7s team.

                none of the Crusaders u20 wonder boys have played so far – Braydon Ennor & will JOrrdan.

              • March 21st 2018 @ 11:25pm
                Rebellion said | March 21st 2018 @ 11:25pm | ! Report

                Pocock was not only the best openside in the world for a couple of seasons (during McCaw’s career) but was the real World Player of the Year in 2015, remember the year Dan Carter strung three good games together after a mixed bag 3 seasons to win his token ‘gold watch’?

                The kiwi assault on Pocock is merely an attempt to smear any opinion which may challenge McCaw’s status as perhaps the GOAT.

                If it makes you feel any better the guy spent the first 13 years of his life in Rhodesia. A bit like Quade someone..

              • March 23rd 2018 @ 6:51pm
                Taylorman said | March 23rd 2018 @ 6:51pm | ! Report

                Nonu was better than both Pocock and Carter in 15. Ended his career at his all time best.

              • Roar Rookie

                March 22nd 2018 @ 12:43pm
                piru said | March 22nd 2018 @ 12:43pm | ! Report

                There’s a Kiwi assault on Pocock?

                I fear you are confused, most arguments I see are Kiwis defending Pocock against Aussies who make silly statements like “he’s a one trick pony”.

                Was he as good as McCaw? Not overall imo, but he was easily the next best 7 and with McCaw’s retirement is now number 1.

              • March 22nd 2018 @ 1:15pm
                Fionn said | March 22nd 2018 @ 1:15pm | ! Report

                You’d be surprised at the number of Kiwis I’ve seen saying Sam Cane is a superior player. I don’t much mind about that as much as Cane is a very good player, as much as I think Pocock will outplay him in the internationals if he is in form.

                It is the number of Aussie fans saying he is a one trick Brumby at the breakdown, and that Hooper is the best 7 in Aus that has me worried.

                Hooper might be a more noticeable player in some ways given how good he is in attack and making big defensive hits, but I think what Pocock offers is much more integral to the team.

          • March 21st 2018 @ 10:56am
            Crash Ball2 said | March 21st 2018 @ 10:56am | ! Report

            Ah yes, the much vaunted new breakdown rules. Tell us, tackler through the gate aside, how exactly has the refereeing interpretation of the breakdown changed between 2017 and 2018 specific to these amendments?

            Defender on his feet has rights to contest for the ball with hands – check.

            Said defender can continue to challenge for possession if he successfully survives the cleanout – check.

            Countless examples of this interpretation across both 6 Nations and Super Rugby contest encompassing a host of top flight 1st class referees – check.

            We keep hearing: “advantage to the attacking team”, or “less time for the defenders to contest”. Can someone tell us exactly why these statements are true AND how they are reflective of the new breakdown laws?

            • Roar Guru

              March 21st 2018 @ 11:17am
              Hoy said | March 21st 2018 @ 11:17am | ! Report

              I agree. Honestly, wasn’t often you saw the tackler have enough time to jump up and just go at the ball from here he is anyway… the breakdown has long been the second man game, and Pocock is so strong over the ball, it simply can’t be discounted.

              But by Johno’s assessment, Pocock shouldn’t ever get a game, despite being one of the best 7s on earth, because the incumbent, only there through injury anyway, is going “well”.

              I don’t understand the doubts on Pocock’s ability still.

              • March 21st 2018 @ 12:11pm
                Crash Ball2 said | March 21st 2018 @ 12:11pm | ! Report

                “Honestly, wasn’t often you saw the tackler have enough time to jump up and just go at the ball from here he is anyway… the breakdown has long been the second man game.”

                Agreed Hoy. Second man in is by far the most prolific method of forced turnovers/pilfers and the adjudication of this aspect of contest is completely unaffected by the new laws. Not a bit, not slightly – just not at all.

                Even the apparently extinct jackal / tackle still lives! Look no further than Augustine Creevy’s breakdown masterclass against the Tahs in Argentina: 4 forced turnovers including one magnificent tackle, to feet, pilfer. Same as the recent Ireland / Scotland match: Peter O’Mahoney: great tackle, strength to pull himself to his feet in front of the ball carrier, clear release, latches on – classic turnover.

                If the argument proposed is that refs are being more officious on peripheral/incumbent laws (e.g. bridging, not supporting own weight, not rolling away), there is always an ebb and flow of trends season by season. But these have Net Zero to do with the new laws.

                But just proving the point that a statement said often enough and confidently enough becomes the (false) perception, the (non) effect of the new breakdown laws is becoming iconic. A bit like the classic: “Pocock is a one trick pony” absurdity.

              • March 21st 2018 @ 3:27pm
                Jacko said | March 21st 2018 @ 3:27pm | ! Report

                I don’t understand the doubts on Pocock’s ability still.

                I certainly understand the doubts……There were many doubts written about Dan Carter being able to come back from his injuries and many articles and comments written about Kaino’s ability to reach previous standards when he came back from japan so questioning a past players ability to fit in where they left off is no shock. pocock has been off the scene for some time now and has to re-prove his talent and earn his spot……as he should…I do believe he will do that as he WAS world class but I will wait until he has a few games under his belt and got some match fitness before blindly saying he will be great again

    • March 22nd 2018 @ 10:15am
      Malo said | March 22nd 2018 @ 10:15am | ! Report

      He was slow before he is going to be slower now. His time has passed. Was one of the greats but I’d rather have George Smith to be honest . People see Picock as our rugby saviour, he won’t be.

      • Roar Rookie

        March 22nd 2018 @ 5:57pm
        piru said | March 22nd 2018 @ 5:57pm | ! Report

        Take THAT strawman!

      • March 22nd 2018 @ 6:06pm
        Darkhorse said | March 22nd 2018 @ 6:06pm | ! Report

        Agree with you, Picock will not save anything.
        Pocock, on the other hand, much needed by Brumbies and Wallabies.
        People who question his value on the field should get their head checked.

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