James Mortimer - (14/08/2012)
While there has been much talk in recent years of David Pocock perhaps overtaking the All Blacks captain as the best openside in world rugby, there is one area where Richie McCaw reigns supreme.
Many have their opinions on the current potency of McCaw's power, with some feeling he is not the pure scavenging genius he used to be, yet there is no denying the constant evolution to the All Blacks flanker's game.
Now a powerful ball carrier, reliable link man and aggressive defender, McCaw often plays a style that is with the times, while Pocock has remained pure to his craft, and is arguably the best player in the world when standing over a tackled player.
Yet Pocock is a new Wallabies captain, and will have to take his leadership up a notch when facing the All Blacks over consecutive weekends.
In this realm, McCaw, with 61 tests as captain and a World Cup, is regarded as many as the best current captain in the game, and certainly his leadership is considered to be alongside the likes of former All Blacks captains such as Sean Fitzpatrick.
Pocock is still a raw captain, and while his leadership has been praised by Wallabies coach Robbie Deans, Pocock has been seen to get frustrated, often part of a skipper's new brief.
McCaw said learning to play and lead as one took time.
“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 (Pocock) 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.”
While the All Blacks may look to put the clamp on Pocock's leadership, they also intend to play him out of the game if possible in the loose.
“He made a real nuisance of himself when he played the Welsh," McCaw said.
"We've got to make sure we don't allow him to do that.”