The Pooper Battle

Super Rugby
by staff

They were the intimidating back row combination of The Rugby Championship and Rugby World Cup, but now the Pooper will go face-to-face as foes when the Brumbies host the Waratahs in Round 2.

Past performances

Both flankers scored a try in the opening round of the Super Rugby competition off set piece and showed their usual industrious outputs. Pocock had a mixed night, yellow carded after numerous breakdown infringements, an issue the Brumbies have admitted they need to look at ahead of Friday’s match. Hooper finished with 21 tackles against the Reds, the most of any player in the competition and a reflection of his trademark work rate.

Turnovers are where Pocock’s real strength lies and in the past two matchups the Brumbies back rower has beaten out Hooper in that head-to-head statistic, with five to Hooper’s one, according to Fox Sports.

Michael hooper isn't worried about favouritism. Photo: Getty imagesWhat they’ve said on Pooper and the breakdown battle

Waratahs captain Michael Hooper:

“You actually don't see each other much on the field. It’s a whole team effort and when you know there’s really good quality players like David is in the Brumbies set up it’s everyone's job to put their fire out and be able to deal with it. (We know) David’s going to get a turnover, he is good over the breakdown but minimising those will be fantastic.”

Waratahs coach Daryl Gibson:

“That’s going to be a fascinating encounter. Two contrasting players who combined well at the World Cup (but) I think there’s contests all over the park.”

Brumbies backrower Jarrad Butler:

“Definitely we don't want to be getting penalised, it makes it hard to play but I think being aggressive at the breakdowns is part of our game plan and I think what we do really well is contest everything and I think we’re going to work on it but not going to try and change too much.”Pocock's ability to carry the ball is often missed. Photo: Getty ImagesBrumbies flanker David Pocock:

"We'll have a look at the tape, if it's a timing issue we'll fix it this week. We've put a huge amount of work into the [breakdown] area and it's something we're pretty good at. Getting it right is something we have to figure out and we've got to work on it.