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Brumbies coach worried about how far teams will go to stop Pocock after 'nasty' incident

By Online Editors

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Brumbies head coach Dan McKellar is worried about how far teams will go to stop the effectiveness of star flanker David Pocock at the breakdown, with the Highlanders often resorting to dangerous and illegal tactics to remove him off the ball.

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“We’ve been talking about protecting players’ heads, there just seems to be [a case] now that a few things have gone out the window,” he said.

McKellar referred to an incident in Saturday’s clash as ‘nasty’ when Elliot Dixon grabbed Pocock around the neck in the process of cleaning him out.

“That looked like a pretty nasty cleanout there so it’s important that we protect the players and I’m not sure if that was the case.

Pocock was an instrumental force that kept the Brumbies in the game for 60 minutes, winning four turnovers in the game and coming up with big plays as they defended their own line.

“He was unbelievable [during the game]. Just tough, mentally tough, physically tough. He cops treatment at just about every breakdown. He’d be the first player that every opposition team talks about from one week to the next.

“He just continues to deliver through his actions and his leadership too. He’s been outstanding since he came back and certainly over the last few weeks.

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The 29-year-old who has just returned to Super Rugby after recovering from injury looked in serious pain after the incident and required on-field medical attention. The Brumbies can ill afford to lose their star openside and are dealing with a potential injury crisis in the backrow, with number eight Isi Naisarani in doubt after suffering a head knock against the Highlanders.

McKellar admitted that the team “can’t afford to lose too many more back-rowers, that’s for sure” as they await the return of blindside Lolo Fakaosilea.

The team will be wary of the threat posed by the Jaguares after they stunned the Rebels in Melbourne on Saturday.

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“They’re a dangerous side,” McKellar said.

“That first 40 minutes they played against the Waratahs early on in the year was as good as any team has played this year.

“[In the Rebels game] again they’ve obviously put out another good performance so they will have momentum, enthusiasm and belief on the back of that.

“We’ve just got to get back home and have a good week of training and continue to keep our season on track by getting a win.”

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