Super Rugby preview
Brumbies 'boosted by Pocock'
Greg Growden and ESPN Staff
February 14, 2013
Wallabies skipper David Pocock spins a pass in training, Australia training session, Sydney, Australia, August 14, 2012
Wallabies flanker David Pocock joins the Brumbies in 2013. © PA Photos
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Teams: Australia | Brumbies

The Brumbies can make the Super Rugby finals simply through the impact of David Pocock, if they are not cruelled by a lack of depth in the outside backs, Greg Growden writes.

Last season: Seventh overall, second in Australian Conference; the Brumbies were surprise packets under Jake White, impressing and holding a finals spot in every round except that which mattered after a final-game loss to the Blues - against whom the former Springboks coach said "everything went out the window".

Key man: David Pocock ranks among the premier flankers in world rugby, and the capture of the Wallabies captain from Western Force can only improve the Brumbies. Known primarily as an outstanding fetcher, he is also a damaging ball runner and tackler who adds strike power across the field.

Rising star: Clyde Rathbone is hardly unknown with 52 Super Rugby caps and 26 Wallabies caps, but the winger has to prove himself again after quitting the sport in 2009, due to injuries, and overcoming personal issues. Rathbone says he has not returned to make up the numbers, and it's easy to see him providing X-factor.

Season preview: Did they punch above their weight in 2012? Was the season simply stage one in the rebirth of Australia's most successful franchise? Will they be steeled by that loss to the Blues? Good questions all. They should figure prominently atop the Australian Conference if Matt Toomua, Christian Lealiifano, Nic White, Jesse Mogg and Ben Mowen maintain and improve upon the 2012 breakout form.

Greg Growden's view: Jake White is an old-fashioned "roll up the sleeves, put up your dooks" leader, and it's no surprise the World Cup-winning Springboks coach's pugnacious attitude has revitalised the Brumbies. The Brumbies or the Reds will win the Australian conference, and the Brumbies have a good chance of a finals berth simply through the impact of David Pocock. In a city clogged with endless roundabouts and traffic lights, Pocock will just plough his way through all of them to get to the weights room. The biggest doubt revolves around their lack of depth out wide; a few injuries and they suddenly look ordinary.

Tip: Second in Australian conference. Finish: Fifth overall.

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