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Thread: Pocock returns to bolster Force

  1. #1
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    Pocock returns to bolster Force

    Wayne Smith From: The Australian April 25, 2011 12:00AM



    THE good news is Western Force should be strengthened by the return of David Pocock this week. The bad news is it will need him because it faces the Crusaders and Richie McCaw in Perth on Saturday night.



    McCaw was a late withdrawal from Saturday's match with the Highlanders in Nelson with a recurrence of a foot injury, although coach Todd Blackadder admitted before the game the All Blacks captain could have played had it been absolutely necessary.

    As it turned out, it probably was necessary.

    With All Blacks number eight Kieran Read given the weekend off, Dan Carter still injured and Sonny Bill Williams, Sean Maitland, Corey Flynn and Ben Franks all rotated down to the bench, the Crusaders suddenly found themselves short of firepower.

    And they were overwhelmed 26-18 by the almost universally underestimated Highlanders.

    Force coach Richard Graham, though delighted that his side hung tough in the final 20 minutes for the second week in succession to defeat the Bulls at nib Stadium on Saturday night, was anything but delighted that a fired-up Crusaders would now be heading his way after their stunning defeat. "It doesn't get any easier, does it?" Graham said.

    The expected return of Pocock, who has been out of action since badly injuring a knee against the Sharks, and fellow flanker Matt Hodgson will at least provide the Force with a counter to McCaw who is primed for a big game after turning down an invitation to the royal wedding in London to play for the Crusaders.

    Centre Mitch Inman, who also has been sidelined with a dislocated elbow since the Sharks match, is another who will undergo a test tomorrow but looks set to be passed fit for the big game.

    After scoring only one win from its first seven matches, the Force now has won two in a row, backing up its outstanding defensive display against the Brumbies in Canberra a week earlier to keep the Bulls tryless in the second half.

    Despite making a rare visit to the sin bin for a marginally dangerous tackle on Bulls fullback Zane Kirchner, James O'Connor turned in yet another dominant display for the Force, contributing 18 points to his side's 26-21 victory with six goals from seven attempts.

    Certainly it did not escape Graham's attention that the 20-year-old Wallabies star finished the match with a broad smile on his face, just days before he is due to decide whether to accept an offer to move to the Rebels, Reds or Brumbies or to remain in Perth with the Force.

    The two wins could scarcely have been better timed as the Force desperately attempts to persuade O'Connor that he can achieve his rugby goals without leaving Perth.

    The other good news for the Force is that hooker Ben Whittaker is not as badly injured as first feared.

    "We thought we were looking at a two- to three-month injury when he came off early but scans have shown that he will probably be out for only a week with a sore AC joint," Graham said.

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news...-1226044195459

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    Legend Contributor fulvio sammut's Avatar
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    Hasn't he got a wedding or something to go to somewhere?

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    As my old girl pointed out this evening, it wasn't so long ago Richie would be in the cooler as a Royal invitation to a subject isn't really an invitation at all, it is an order.

    Anyway, great to hear the Backrow Battery is back on track to take him on.

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    Immortal Contributor shasta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Burgs View Post
    it wasn't so long ago Richie would be in the cooler as a Royal invitation to a subject isn't really an invitation at all, it is an order.
    Vive la république.

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    I would say they will play either Hodsie or Pocock... prob one on the bench whether Pocock is up to 80 minutes ? Inman bench, if he is lucky. Really impressed with Sidley and Delitt... have they got contracts in 2012 ????
    Dunning : well I think he is past it ! a few strong runs and then he ran out of puff I feel...

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    I like the strategy of using Dunning to tire them out and bringing K-Bomb on at about 30-40 it certainly worked to wear down those big Bulls forwards last week

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    C'mon the

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    Rookie The Big I's Avatar
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    It will exciting to see Pocock coming off the bench fresh, attacking a tiring sader defence on Saturday night

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    Last edited by The Big I; 27-04-11 at 15:49. Reason: Because I can

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    Veteran Contributor hertryk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Big I View Post
    It will exciting to see Pocock coming off the bench fresh, attacking a tiring sader defence on Saturday night
    The Crusaders get tired do they..??? LOL!
    Lets hope Ritchie wishes he'd accepted the invitiation...

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    Senior Player Hoolly Doolly's Avatar
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    Bring Hodgo and Poey off the bench. Ive been pretty satisfied with the way Jono has covered in their absence especially in the last couple weeks.
    Keiren Read wont be there, Id be surprised to see them start with Richie but if they do give Brownie and Jenkins the greenlight to belt him non stop for 40/50 minutes before replacing them with Poey and Hodgo to continue on with the belting. With no Brad Thorn, Sam Whitelock and Read im quietly Confident our forwards will own the crusaders.
    The question is whether our backs can contain the crusaders jets. Dagg, Giuldford, Maitland, SBW, Fruen will cut us up with counter attacks if our kicking for territory is on par with last week. Kicking for territory will work as long as Ripia finds touch. Last week was ok as Kirschner and Steyns natural instinct is to just kick it back. Any in field kicking needs to be followed up with decent pressure from chasers. JOC vs SBW....Kearnsey's questions will be answered.

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    Legend Contributor slomo's Avatar
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    welcome back poey!....

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Big I View Post
    It will exciting to see Pocock coming off the bench fresh, attacking a tiring sader defence on Saturday night
    yep I agree put Matt or even Johno he has done well on for 60 minutes and let Bam off the lease.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BDAVEY View Post
    yep I agree put Matt or even Johno he has done well on for 60 minutes and let Bam off the lease.
    I'd like to see Bam get more than 20 minutes......40 would be about right IMHO

    I'd start with Hodgeo and schedule Bam on at the half.

    Possibly run a 5-2 on the bench just in case!

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    C'mon the

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    Ritchie was spotted with a slight limp after training this morning.

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    I don't know which witch the Crusaders messed with but they would have had to have screwed her over big time. First an earthquake and now the Crusaders potentially losing McCaw along with Thorn, Read, Ellis and Carter. Hahahaha. Now all we need is for the Franks brothers to knock each other out during the captains run and we are all set.

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    Heard on the radio Pocock to start - Hodgo on the bench

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