Michael Hooper is relishing his showdown with Wallabies team-mate David Pocock.Waratahs skipper Michael Hooper says his Brumbies opposite David Pocock will have a “point to prove” when the two superstar flankers go head-to-head in their Super Rugby clash in Canberra on Saturday night.
Pocock hasn’t played for the Brumbies since July 2016, taking a sabbatical from rugby and then injuring his knee upon his return.
The comeback game has special significance as his 100th Super Rugby match for the Brumbies.
In his absence, Hooper has established himself as the Test captain and ‘s leading No.7 but the gun Waratah says he’s eager to see where 29-year-old Pocock’s game is at.
“I always like playing against Dave, he adds a lot to their team,” Hooper said on Thursday.
“That’s not saying the guys who’ve been there haven’t been doing a good job but as far as morale and things go, it’s a big signing coming back after being away for a while.
“I’m sure he’ll have a point to prove on the weekend and we’ll do our best to stop that.”
Hooper said it wouldn’t be purely on his shoulders to shut down Pocock, and actually didn’t expect the No.7s to run into each other all that much.
“It’s hard to find each other on the field, so how you can influence their games is quite tricky and it’s not a huge amount,” he said.
“It really is a team effort, and shutting down someone like Pocock really is a team effort and being smart around the break-down.”
After a week off the NSW skipper said his team needed to recapture the form from their second half against the Rebels, when they blew the Melbourne side away to book a commanding win.
He expected the Brumbies to try to also play a fast-paced game, which they intended to match.
“They’ve got great ball movement and we know they’ve got quick ruck speed in attack and they’re able to get over the ad line well,” Hooper said.
“It’s something they’ve been showing and traditionally these guys are great with their setpiece and we know they’ll have that – it’s the other little bits that have been a bit of a change in breaking down some of their tape.”