Brumbies flanker David Pocock says he has no idea what type of reception he’ll receive in his first game back in Perth since leaving the Western Force in 2012.
There won’t be a trace of hostility aimed at star Brumbies flanker David Pocock during his first game back in Perth since leaving the Western Force, insists Brumbies forwards coach Laurie Fisher.
Pocock played seven seasons (69 caps) with the Force, starting as a foundation member in 2006 before amicably parting ways to join the Brumbies for the 2013 Super Rugby season.
However as last year’s season was cruelled in round three by a serious knee injury, Saturday’s clash between the Force and the Brumbies will be the first time the 46-Test flanker returns to nib Stadium.
While numerous high-profile players in the past have received hostile receptions at their former home grounds, most infamously Wendell Sailor’s 2006 return to Queensland’s Suncorp Stadium in NSW colours, Fisher has no doubts Pocock will be welcomed back by the Perth throng with open arms.
“I think he’ll be very popular. He’ll get a very good reception there,” Fisher said.
“He’s a great guy, he’s well respected wherever he goes so I think he’ll be very well received.”
Pocock is less certain, saying he’s not too sure what to expect.
“I’m excited. We’ll see what happens, I’m sure there will be a bit of banter,” Pocock said.
“But I’m sure it will be pretty good natured.
“I thought I left on pretty good terms and I loved my seven years there.”
Pocock played his first professional rugby game in 11 months last Saturday when the Brumbies went down to the Queensland Reds 27-17 in the season opener in Canberra.
“It’s always a step up for that first game, but across the park we were probably just a little bit off,” Pocock said.
“The breakdown probably wasn’t where it needs to be.”
However the performance didn’t disappoint director of rugby, who rated Pocock’s hit-out as “very good”.
“He carried strongly, defended well and was hard on the ball,” Fisher said.
“There was small things in his game, but for the amount of time out of the game, he showed he’s going to have a very good season.”
Meanwhile, Wallabies outside centre Tevita Kuridrani has been injected back into the Brumbies starting XV for Saturday’s clash, relegating Andrew Smith to the bench.
Test flyer Joe Tomane has been ruled out with an ankle injury, with Robbie Coleman to take his spot on the wing.
Brumbies: Jesse Mogg, Henry Speight, Tevita Kuridrani, Pat McCabe, Robbie Coleman, Matt Toomua, Nic White, Jarrad Butler, David Pocock, Ben Mowen (capt), Sam Carter, Scott Fardy, Ben Alexander, Stephen Moore, Scott Sio. Res: Siliva Siliva, Ruan Smith, Ruaidhri Murphy, Leon Power, Lachlan McCaffrey, Conrad Hoffman, Andrew Smith, Lionel Cronje.