Smith to run alongside Pocock
March 5, 2013
Last time George Smith and David Pocock were in the same team - Cardiff in 2009 - they shared the openside role. © Getty Images
White said on Tuesday that he hadn't decided the team but he intended to run Smith and Pocock side by side for a while, before taking Pocock off. Smith, who arrived in Canberra last week to rejoin the club on a short-term contract after helping Suntory Sungoliath to a fifth Japanese title, will likely go on at blindside flanker.
"It will be an opportunity for me to see what they're like together for a while, and then maybe relieve David of some duties to get ready for the next couple of tough weeks," White said. "One of the things I'm really mindful of is that David Pocock cannot play 80 minutes of rugby every single week."
The Brumbies go into the match as solid favourites, having won their first two games of the season and nine of their past 11 games against the Waratahs at home. But White is wary of a Waratahs ambush after coach Michael Cheika talked up his side's underdog status at a press conference on Monday.
"It sounds like an ambush because it is an ambush," White said. "The reality is I've never heard of a Waratahs team ever saying they're coming down to the Brumbies as underdogs."
White returned Cheika's serve with mind games of his own, questioning the Waratahs' new attacking style of rugby.
"I have no doubt that they tried it, but the irony is that stats don't lie," he said. "They still haven't gone away from kicking too much because they kicked 34 times in their last fixture, which is on average to what they did last year."
White also played down questions surrounding Israel Folau, highlighting Wallabies players Drew Mitchell and Berrick Barnes as players of concern.
When asked what he thought of Folau as a player, White said it was unfair to make any assessments after just a few weeks. "The more he plays the better he'll become," White said. "Look at Wendell Sailor and Lote Tuqiri when they arrived, they also took time to get involved in rugby union. Michael Cheika has made it quite clear that he's in the plans, he wants to develop him, and he's obviously going to want to keep on the field as long as possible."
How much impact will George Smith have? Will he be as good as we remember? Leave a comment below to join the conversation.
The controversial tackling technique will be in full swing in Dublin on Sunday, writes Conor O'Shea, and could be a decisive factor for Ireland
"This team deserves to be recognised as the greatest of all time." Huw Richards looks at Gareth Edwards' final match for Wales
The two leading contenders for the best modern open-side flanker go head to head in Paris on Saturday. John Taylor assesses the tale of the tape