Kurtley Beale says NSW Waratahs captain Michael Hooper and Brumbies superstar David Pocock, will help raise the general standard of play in Friday’s Super Rugby showdown in Canberra.
The two champion openside flankers and Wallaby back row teammates are set to go head-to-head in the eagerly anticipated early season matchup between the two most fancied Australian conference franchises.
In last year’s World Cup the two men frequently packed down alongside each other, with Pocock shifting to No.8.
Waratahs’ five-eighth Beale is acutely aware of how potentially disruptive Pocock can be to his team and the significance of the massive breakdown battle between the two No.7s.
“David Pocock is one of the best back rowers in the world and probably is the best back rower in the world,” Beale said.
“His presence will be there on the weekend, so we’ve got to be wary of that and no doubt we’ll be preparing for that
“Mike (Hooper) is another standout back rower, a world class player himself.
“I think those two going head-to-head will only bring the best out of each other and no doubt when you see two quality players like that going at each other, it definitely lifts your game up and lifts the standard of the play up, so no doubt that this weekend will be a huge clash.
“Two teams going for it, to fight for tha No.1 spot (in the Australian conference).”
Beale was diplomatic when asked if the Brumbies were pushing the envelope at the breakdown, where some of their first round tactics generated some criticism.
“They do have a presence at the breakdown and I think when you are in the game guys will do anything to compete and to do well for their team,” Beale said.
“I think every player in the competition goes out to do that and thats just the game of rugby.
“I think you just leave the refs to adjudicate the decision.”
Beale felt the Brumbies were entitled to start favourites for Friday’s game following their seven-try shellacking of the Hurricanes, while the Tahs sparkled sporadically in their win over the Reds.
“The weekend’s game was a good win, we got the bonus point, but I think there’s a few things there that we need to improve on, going into the Brumbies game,” Beale said.
“As a squad I think we should all be looking forward to it, because it’s always a great challenge down there.”