All Blacks on Pocock alert
RUGBY CHAMPIONSHIP SPOTLIGHT: The sight of David Pocock in the Wallabies Bledisloe Cup team have the All Blacks on ‘high alert’
The Wallabies flank Pocock missed last year’s championship while on a sabbatical.
However, since his return, the 30-year-old immediately displayed his formidable quality at the breakdown during the June Test Series against Ireland.
And the flanker’s presence has surely not gone unnoticed by rival All Blacks flank Sam Cane.
“He’s always a big threat when he plays,” Cane told reporters.
“The way he continually bounces back and plays at such a high level is pretty outstanding. It just creates an awareness, we’re on more high alert than normal around the breakdown,”
Posing an additional headache at the breakdown is the return of Wallabies captain Michael Hooper, who has been sidelined for seven weeks due to a hamstring he sustained during the June Test series.
However, Cane is adamant that the skipper will be at his peak despite lack of game time.
“[Hooper] played so much footy for his age, experience is something he has buckets of despite being only 26,” he said. “I don’t think it will be an issue. He has a big ticker and runs all day,”
The All Blacks arrived in Sydney on Sunday and will spend the full week in Australia for the third year in a row.
It’s a move that has reaped rewards for the visitors the past two years, with 42-8 and 54-34 wins in 2016 and 2017, and Cane said it was a big reason for their fast Rugby Championship starts.
“Well in previous years we used to come over later in the week,” he said.
“I think it’s been great, particularly at this point in the season, we’ve just assembled as a squad, we’re all coming from five different teams to come over here where there’s not the distractions that can sometimes be at home,”
“Whenever you’re in a place – Christchurch, Auckland, Wellington, there’s boys that can go home and this just keeps us tight, being over here for the week and I think at this time of the year, when we’re just coming together, I think that’s really helpful,”