All Blacks convinced Pocock will play in Perth clash
RUGBY CHAMPIONSHIP SPOTLIGHT: The All Blacks are convinced that David Pocock will play on Saturday although talk around the Wallabies camp is that he will be kept on ice.
Pocock hasn’t played since March due to a problematic calf injury that has Wallabies fans wringing their hands ahead of this year’s World Cup in Japan.
“We’re guessing that he will play,” said All Blacks assistant coach Ian Foster.
“You always prepare for that scenario. We’ve played against those two [Pocock and Michael Hooper] when they’ve played together a number of times. They’re quality footballers so we’re preparing for that.
Whenever he does play, All Blacks flank Sam Cane said that after 76 Tests Pocock would shine.
“I expect him to come back and be right in the thick of things,” he said.
“Your match fitness is normally not quite where you want it to be but because you’ve been in those situations before you can just push on through and a guy like David Pocock, there’s not a big margin between his best and worst games.”
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The 27-year-old Cane broke his neck playing in an All Blacks Test against South Africa in Pretoria last October, with the injury career-threatening.
Cane spent seven months on the sidelines before returning to Super Rugby in May and after taking on Argentina last month, is set to face the Wallabies in Perth in their Rugby Championship/Bledisloe Cup clash on Saturday.
Cane said Pocock would have a new appreciation for playing for his country after so long out.
“Rugby is a team sport until you get injured and then it feels like you’re chipping away on your own for a long time,” Cane said.
“During those times there’s little steps and goals and my goal was to get back to wearing the black jersey and David, the gold jumper.
“Should he get that opportunity I’m sure he will savour it more because of all the hard work and steps he has to take to get there.”
The Chiefs ace says once the physical work is done the challenge to return to the top level becomes mental.
He admitted to having some doubts before his first Super Rugby match.
“It’s about your ability to push that to one side,” Cane said.
“You’re always going to have those little voices in one area of your brain telling you to be careful or a little bit hesitant but you can’t let them be too overpowering.
“You need to let your other part of your brain say, ‘You’ve done the work – you’re alright and rip in’.”
Source: Sydney Morning Herald & AAP