ESPN SCRUM

/ Super Rugby 2014

/ News

Super Rugby
Reds aim to limit Pocock thievery
February 21, 2014
David Pocock was unlucky to miss 11 months of rugby, but will be a huge threat to Reds on Saturday night © Getty Images
Enlarge

Queensland authorities have identified the primary suspect as 1.84cm tall, 104kg, blondish hair, blue eyes, with a brazen talent to steal rugby balls in broad sight.

"David Pocock is a hard guy to shift when he gets over the ball," says Queensland Reds captain James Horwill.

Australia's best ball thief is back for the Brumbies after a long stint on the sidelines. And Queensland flanker Liam Gill, as well as his Reds teammates, have a huge job on their hands to limit the damage in the Super Rugby season opener in Canberra on Saturday night.

"Gilly is an excellent exponent of the breakdown, David is obviously a world-class player at the breakdown," Horwill says. "We've got to make sure we don't allow him that time and space over the ball."

While Pocock's return from a serious knee injury after 11 months will take centre stage, numerous other side plots will unfold around the park. Reds flyhalf Quade Cooper, who has recovered from last week's neck scare, will be out to one-up his main contender for the Wallabies No.10 jersey Matt Toomua.

"Quade's a guy that always has a natural ability as that freakish talent to do things that other people can't," says Horwill.

But Toomua, a noted rib rattling defender, has his own plans to stop Cooper and halfback Will Genia from creating opportunities out wide for their elusive backline, which includes livewire fullback Aidan Toua.

Assisting Toomua in defence in the busy No.12 channel will be Wallabies hard man Pat McCabe, back from his second broken neck to replace a recovering Christian Lealiifano (ankle).

"Guys like Quade and Will, you can't defend individually because you won't get them," Toomua said. "You bring a few guys with you and you don't just do it mindlessly."

Both sides enter the season with new head coaches following the departures of former verbal sparring partners Ewen McKenzie and Jake White last year.

Expect both sides to have similar systems in place though, as Reds coach Richard Graham and Brumbies coaches Stephen Larkham and Laurie Fisher were the understudies.

Not only will both teams be out to kick off their respective coaches' new tenures with a win, but to grab an instant lead on one of their main conference rivals. The Reds' failure to beat the Brumbies in both last year's season opener in Canberra, and the 19-19 draw in Brisbane, eventually cost them a first place finish in the Australian conference.

"The higher you finish on the table, the better it is come finals time," Horwill said. "So these interstate rivalry games are massive for that."

© AAP

Live Sports

Communication error please reload the page.

  • Formula 1

    Ferrari braced for tricky 2015 season

    New Ferrari team principal Maurizio Arrivabene says he cannot work miracles with the team next season as Maranello prepares for a difficult season in 2015

  • Football

    'I have always loved Arsenal'

    Moussa Sissoko has revealed his loves for Arsenal and suggested he will seek to leave Newcastle United to further his ambitions

  • Football

    Pellegrini not interested in City record

    Manuel Pellegrini is ignoring the prospect of equalling a 105-year club record to concentrate on Manchester City's bid to retain the Premier League title

  • Rugby

    Tipuric pens new Ospreys deal

    Wales flanker Justin Tipuric has spurned the chance of a big-money move to sign a new three-year deal with Ospreys

  • Rugby

    Toner commits to Leinster until 2017

    Devin Toner will remain with Leinster after signing a two-year contract extension with the IRFU

Sponsored Links
Make $170 in 60 seconds!
Google Vs Facebook, 60 sec. knock out! Choose a champion, Become a Winner!
Make $25 in 1 Minute!
Start trading with the biggest broker! Register now to receive $25 for FREE!