When David Pocock retires from international rugby at the end of the Rugby World Cup, many people may look back on who the flanker’s greatest adversary was, and the answer will likely be Richie McCaw.
The two opensides faced off on a number of occasions, most noticeably in the 2011 RWC semi-final and the 2015 final, with the All Black usually getting the better of his counterpart.
However, a stat has been released to show how Pocock not only has beaten McCaw in Rugby World Cup turnovers, but is the overall best in the competition’s history.
All-time @rugbyworldcup Turnover Kings:
Nice group to be leading @pocockdavid ???
— Seb Lauzier (@seblauzier) September 27, 2019
Seeing as this is only the Australian’s third RWC, it means that he averages 15 turnovers a tournament with his 30. Meanwhile, McCaw competed in four RWCs to earn his 25 in second.
What is perhaps even more remarkable is that Springboks great Joost van der Westhuizen sits in third on the list, with the rest of the top five being flankers. The scrumhalf is ahead of Josh Kronfeld and Sam Warburton on the list.
But in the battle of the breakdown maestros, Pocock has come out on top in this one. This is an area of the game where the former Brumbies loose forward has made his name over the past decade, but it is surprising how far ahead he is of McCaw, particularly with more games to play over the next few weeks.
Of course, this is only one facet of the game, and there were many more strings to McCaw’s bow, which is why he is revered as one of the greats, if not the greatest player to play. His 27 international tries and three world player of the year awards are no greater example as to why. But in the titanic battle between the two nemeses, Pocock has won the turnover contest at RWCs.
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