Wales to target Pocock
Wales head coach Warren Gatland believes that containing Australia flanker David Pocock could be the key to victory on Saturday.
Last Updated: 02/11/10 7:22pm
Wales head coach Warren Gatland believes that containing Australia flanker David Pocock could be the key to victory in their clash with the Wallabies on Saturday.
Pocock is one of the rising stars of international rugby and has already gained a reputation as a fearsome turnover threat at the breakdown.
He played a crucial role in Australia's 33-12 victory over Wales last year and will return to the Millennium Stadium for their autumn Test series opener.
And after watching Pocock run riot again as Australia beat the All Blacks in Hong Kong on Saturday, Gatland says his side must get physical in order to counter threat posed by the Western Force back-rower.
Gatland said: "We've got to combat Pocock. He was really effective again on the weekend against New Zealand. He's extremely physical, and he caused us a huge amount of problems last year.
"We need to make sure we look after that area. We've got to be low, effective at cleaning out from our ball and making sure he doesn't cause the problems he has been causing.
"There is nobody better in the world at the moment than Pocock at turnovers at the breakdown.
"It's about making sure we do a job on Pocock - that's going to be crucial for us. If he does create turnovers at the breakdown, it could be very costly. We have to be very physical with him at that area."
Australia will enter the contest in Cardiff full of confidence after ending a 10-game losing streak in the Bledisloe Cup and Gatland is well aware of the visitors' dangerous attacking weapons.
"You would probably look at it as a great performance by Australia, a good win at the end, having to score the try and then make the conversion to win the game," he added.
"The All Blacks had a chance five or 10 minutes earlier than that to close the game out. Stephen Donald missed a kick on the 15-metre line, and that would have been game over.
"It's fantastic for Australia - I think it was 10 games in a row they hadn't beaten the All Blacks. It was a great game of rugby, and they deserved to win. I hope they celebrated long and hard on Saturday night in Hong Kong!
"They are looking really dangerous at the moment. There is a job to do in looking after their back three - O'Connor's footwork and (Kurtley) Beale's footwork is very impressive, and we know with (Quade) Cooper he runs some fantastic lines.
"But the exciting thing about it, with the interpretation of the rules, it gives us an opportunity to play. It allows both teams to play some expansive rugby and use the threats both teams have."