The long-standing rivalry battle between David Pocock and Richie McCaw takes a new twist ahead of the Rugby Championship opener in Sydney on Saturday.
The return to fitness of Kieran Read means McCaw will move to his preferred openside flanker position, setting up the latest chapter in the intense rivalry of the world’s premier fetchers.
Adding to the intrigue is the fact that these two will go head-to-head as opposing captains for the first time on the Test arena.
All Black skipper McCaw, who has captained New Zealand in a record 61 Tests, said it took time to learn how to deal with the dual player and leader responsibilities and as such, they will target the inexperienced Pocock.
“It does take time to be able to do both, to get your own game right and be able to lead well,” McCaw said.
“That doesn't happen overnight. From that point of view, you put pressure on him [Pocock] as a player, then you put pressure on him when the heat comes on. That doesn't just happen, but we've got to make sure of it.”
McCaw has done his home work on his rival, saying, “He made a real nuisance of himself when he played the Welsh. We've got to make sure we don't allow him to do that.”
He added that the Wallabies will be highly motivated to exact revenge following their World Cup semi-final loss at the hands of the All Blacks and will want to make the most of their home ground advantage to win the first of three Bledisloe Cup matches.
“If you look back to the internationals last year and the World Cup, there will be a bit of feeling there, especially when you've got some time to think about it,” McCaw said.
“The Bledisloe means a hell of a lot. They haven't had it for a while ... I know they'd love to get their hands on it.”
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