Pocock defends partnership with Hooper
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Wallaby loose forward David Pocock has defended his partnership with Michael Hooper in Australia's back row.
Australia's loose forward combination has received a lot of criticism in recent weeks because of their lack of height.
The Wallabies have struggled in the line-outs against the All Blacks in recent weeks and there has been renewed calls for the team to add more height in the back row.
However, Pocock feels there is no need to break up his partnership with Hooper.
"I've really enjoyed playing alongside Hoops [Hooper]. I think he's probably got a lot of my John Eales Medal votes," Pocock told rugby,com.au.
"I feel like he gets through a huge amount of work and really contributes and he's a real leader within the team.
“I mean we'll leave those comments and speculation to others.
"For us as players, we're trying to improve that combination and get out there and be the best back row we can, individually and as a group."
Pocock added: "I think most teams are still looking to have that on the ball presence," he said.
"A lot of players across the field are starting to get a lot better at it - a few props, hookers, some of the outside backs.
"[When we played] against England, they had a number of guys who were getting good turnovers against us, the All Blacks pressure the ball with their second rowers, Sam Cane's pretty handy in that area too.
"So, I think there's still definitely a role for it - a lot of it depends on the amount of space that the opposition team gives in that area."
Australia's opponents on Saturday, the Springboks, have their own selection dilemma for the openside flank role with Jaco Kriel putting pressure on Francois Louw for a starting berth.
However, for Pocock, both players will pose a big threat.
"I think they're both outstanding," he said.
"I think their timing's really good and they're big guys so they're pretty hard to move once they get onto the ball.
"I guess that's up to their coaches as to who they think's going to be better against us but both are really big threats."