Australia skipper David Pocock believes his side’s World Cup semi-final against New Zealand will be a physical contest that will hinge on who will get the upper hand at the breakdown.
Pocock was at the heart of everything Australia did well in their quarter-final contest against South Africa as the Wallabies ousted their fierce rivals despite conceding over 70% territory, and now the young skipper has his sights set on causing another upset this weekend, and believes his battle at the ruck against All Blacks skipper Richie McCaw will be key.
“It is fairly standard these days for openside flankers to cop a bit of heat from the opposition, I mean, they’ve got Richie McCaw, so it is going to be a really important part of the game.” Pocock said.
“Both teams know that and in the past it has been a big part of the winning team… the way they’ve played, they’ve dominated the breakdown.” He added.
The Western Force back-row forward has been perhaps the most influential man in an Australian Rugby Kit so far, and didn’t miss a single of his 27 tackles against South Africa to help repel wave after wave of attack.
Pocock also made a nuisance of himself at the breakdown, securing three turnovers, but hasn’t received just plaudits for his efforts in securing the ball for his side, instead being accused of cheating by rival fans.
“I think it’s fairly standard for most No. 7’s,” Pocock said. “It’s been pretty funny checking Twitter for the South African fans, it’s all been in good humour.”
But while the Wallabies skipper remains confident of victory at Eden Park on Sunday, he admitted the Australian back row will have to up their game against an All Black side that are renowned for their skills at the breakdown.
“They use a bit more footwork and you probably have to say that their work at the breakdown, across the board, is probably a bit better and more contested. We’re going to have to step up at the breakdown again and Craig Joubert’s a great ref, so we’re expecting him to be good there.” He commented.