David Pocock has ticked off his return to the field and though he didn’t have a fairytale finish, there were plenty of positives for the openside.
Pocock, who was also playing his 100th Super Rugby match in his return game, seemed somewhat relieved to make it through the game – his first for the Brumbies since a 2016 quarter-final loss to the Highlanders.
“Yeah it’s good to be back out there,” he said.
“It would’ve been nice if a few things had gone a bit differently but loving being part of the group and I wasn’t sure how long I’d stay on for but I felt alright.
“If you’re starting you’re wanting to play 80.
“I don’t know what the plan is but as a player you always want to stay on there for as long as you can.”
His stat line over that 80 minutes was more than fair, finishing with nine tackles and three turnovers won – a reminder of the value he brings to the Brumbies, and the Wallabies.
Pocock’s fitness was a blessing for the Brumbies in their leadership stakes as well, with the flanker taking over the captaincy when Christian Lealiifano left the field with a head knock.
“The plan was to be open minded about how David was and we speak through messages, we get messages to the players and see how they’re going and we were happy with how he was performing so I felt there the back end of the game, losing Christian I wanted that leadership on the field,” Brumbies coach Dan McKellar said.
Though it’s been a while since Pocock ran out in Canberra, he felt there hadn’t been any dramatic change in the clash.
“It’s always changing. As a player, you just have to adapt to the new rules,” he said.
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“I don’t know if it’s changed that much but it’s enjoyable to play.”
Pocock’s parents made the trip down to watch his milestone match, a rare chance for them to see the 29-year-old in action live.
Though Pocock’s return was a positive, there was much frustration for the Brumbies after a 24-17 loss to the Waratahs.
Things won’t get easier for them as they prepare to host the Reds next weekend either, a side that bested them in the scrum last time around, and coach Dan McKellar is confident of improvement.
“We were disappointed with our performance up there and we just need to be really thorough with our review, and make sure we’re better next week,” McKellar
“You’ve just got to keep working hard.
“There’s no quick fix, it’s just about continuing to improve and I think looking at tonight, without having seen the tape obviously, it’s playing the game more in the right end of the field.”