Oh captain my captain! Master McCaw to face new skipper Pocock
James Mortimer 18 Aug 2012 Getty Images
McCaw himself would be the first to admit that he took some time to grow into the role, and said this week that a big part of the challenge was balancing leadership with ensuring that you played your role on the field.
Such words are remarkably accurate when you consider that McCaw isn't immersed at the bottom of the ruck as often as you would see in the 'old days', but his role has evolved, and while he might not be a classical scavenger anymore, his leadership is now without question.
Many would put McCaw's leadership in the same basket as Sean Fitzpatrick, who had the statement given he had refereed as many tests as he played at hooker!
Pocock appears to be the more pure openside, consistently evident striding over the ball, much like a younger McCaw used to do for the All Blacks.
Yet McCaw has shifted his game to become a prime ball carrier as well as a frontline defender and link man, and as he is not in the coalface as much, his leadership has grown accordingly.
Often this has come from support of the players around him, the likes of Kieran Read and Jerome Kaino have made McCaw's job easier, and Wallabies coach Robbie Deans said that often Pocock struggled as he didn't have enough support.
"David can't do it by himself, he can't master the breakdown himself, it's not humanly possible," Deans said.
"He needs support and we've been working hard in that area to provide the sort of support he needs to thrive."
Scott Higginbotham and Dave Dennis, who have arguably gained their starting berths due to their ability to roam, have acknowledged the need to play a tighter game.
"Traditionally me and Scott probably play a bit looser and carry the ball a lot more," Dennis said.
"But we can't leave all the breakdown work down to Poey. We're going to have to really work hard around there."
McCaw, proven with a World Cup in hand and with the mantle of the All Blacks most capped player and captain, said that Pocock could be put under pressure to make his leadership stutter.
“It does take time to be able to do both, to get your own game right and be able to lead well,” McCaw said.
“That doesn't happen overnight. From that point of view, you put pressure on him as a player, then you put pressure on him when the heat comes on. That doesn't just happen, but we've got to make sure of it.
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