Pocock's Wallaby blow as Brumbies crush Super 15 rivals
CANBERRA (AFP) –
Wallaby breakdown ace David Pocock could miss this year’s home series against the British and Irish Lions with a serious knee injury as the ACT Brumbies crushed Australian Super 15 rivals NSW Waratahs on Saturday.
The unbeaten Brumbies charged to a six-point break at the top of the Australian conference with a four-try bonus point 35-6 victory over the Waratahs.
But the Brumbies paid a big price for their thumping win with open-side flanker Pocock suffering a potential season-ending knee injury early in the first half, with initial fears that he will be out of rugby for six months.
If scans confirm the early diagnosis that would put the Wallaby ball poacher out for the remainder of the Super 15 season and the June-July Tests against the Lions in Australia.
Pocock’s misfortune took some of the gloss off a dominant Brumbies’ performance as they mastered the Wallaby-ladened Waratahs four tries to nil and did not concede a point in the second half after leading 21-6 at halftime.
George Smith, the 110-Test veteran, got an unexpected early introduction into the game as Pocock’s replacement in his first match for the Brumbies since 2010 after a spell in Japanese club rugby.
It was the Jake White-coached Brumbies’ first four-try bonus point win over the Waratahs since 2007 with the Sydney underachievers now losing their last six Super Rugby matches on the road.
The Waratahs made little impression on the well-drilled Brumbies, whose defence under the former World Cup-winning Springbok coach White is a feature of their blazing start to the new Super Rugby season with three wins from three games.
“We have some outstanding commitment there and really good work ethic, so we’re happy with that,” said Brumbies’ skipper Ben Mowen, one of the tryscorers.
“We pride ourselves on our fitness and that keeps us in there, but we are getting better in defence and we want to take that step each week and keep improving.”
The Brumbies bounded to a 9-0 lead inside 10 minutes on soft penalties conceded by the Waratahs before Mowen and flyhalf Christian Lealiifano scored tries to open a 21-3 lead before 20,000 home fans.
The Waratahs could make little impression in the second half and the Brumbies clinched victory with tries to winger Henry Speight and a sensational kick and chase effort from replacement Robbie Coleman finishing off a counter-attack from fullback Jesse Mogg originating near his own try-line.
Lealiifano finished with 18 points from a try, two conversions and three penalties, while Brendan McKibbin kicked the Waratahs points with two penalties.
“Our heads weren’t in it, we gifted them nine points at the start through ill-discipline and we were chasing the game,” Waratahs skipper Dave Dennis said.
“As soon as we get down by a few points we seem to knock off or not think we can come back. It’s a bit of an issue for us and we need to work on it but it’s extremely disappointing.”
The Brumbies look to continue their winning run in their opening match of their South African tour against the Coastal Sharks in Durban next weekend, while the Waratahs are at home to South Africa’s Central Cheetahs.