The Growden Medal
David Pocock continues to make mark at No.8 for Australia at Rugby World Cup
Greg Growden
September 24, 2015
Ruck'n Maul: A perfect way to start for Australia

Another excellent No. 8 performance by David Pocock in the World Cup opener against Fiji has seen him to take over the lead in The Growden Medal standings.

Australia's David Pocock takes on Gabiriele Lovobalavu, Australia v Fiji, Rugby World Cup, Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, September 23, 2015
David Pocock was the most impressive during Australia's opening clash against Fiji © Getty Images

Pocock, who won the official Man of the Match award at the Millennium Stadium, was instrumental in Australia's victory, scoring two tries - both through his masterful direction in forcing driving mauls over the Fijian line. His around the ground work also was outstanding, and his midfield defence in tandem with Michael Hooper repelled numerous Fijian charges.

Wallabies great Michael Lynagh described Pocock as "outstanding", saying the No.8 and openside flanker Michael Hooper are "not the biggest men in terms of their height, but Pocock is wonderful and Hooper copped a lot".

"They're always there on one side of the field. You can't get away from them. They're outstanding players."

Pocock played down his role in the rolling maul, saying: "I've had a few this year, someone has to be at the back to put it down. Those tries come from all the hard work up front so I can't take that credit. We've seen a lot of teams using the maul as an attacking weapon in the 22 this year and I'm sure we'll see a lot more of it in the coming games. It's something we do well and we'll use it when we think the time is right."

Between them, the pair made 38 tackles and forced three turnovers in the ruck against Fiji.

"We've been working pretty hard at training to try to get the combination working," Pocock said. "But I think Hoops and [No.6 Scott Fardy] got through a lot of work. It's not just two ... Fardy is a pretty experienced campaigner now and has a few good goes over the ball. That's what you want from the back-row, to get through a lot of work and make impact at key moments."

Australia 28-13 Fiji (video available in Australia only)

Growden Medal Match Points

7.5: David Pocock

7: Michael Hooper, Matt Giteau

Growden Medal Progress Points

24: David Pocock

23: Michael Hooper

21: Adam Ashley-Cooper

15: Israel Folau

8.5: Scott Fardy, Nic White

7.5: Sean McMahon

7: Nick Phipps, Matt Toomua, Will Skelton, Matt Giteau

6: Kane Douglas

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