Belfast Telegraph

Monday 21 April 2014

Warburton targets Pocock

Sam Warburton says David Pocock (pictured) will be Australia's biggest threat against Wales

Wales skipper Sam Warburton believes keeping David Pocock quiet will be crucial as his side seek a winning end to their series against Australia on Saturday.

Warburton has fought a running battle with his rival flanker in two closely-fought Tests, with Wales only denied a first win since 1969 over the Wallabies in Australia by Mike Harris' penalty after the hooter last week.

"We did much better against (Pocock) as a team in Melbourne and we know that if we can keep him down to three turn-overs per game we are doing a good job," said Warburton. "We also did a good job on containing Will Genia in Melbourne and we just need to carry on that good work and improve again."

Another factor will be the need to improve the possession statistics, after the hosts enjoyed almost 70% of the ball in Melbourne.

Caretaker coach Rob Howley said: "When you play against southern hemisphere sides, and Australia in particular, possession statistics are vital. If you are defending for 70% of the game it takes its toll.

"We need to remain composed and accurate at line-out time because then the possession stats change. We lost four line-outs in Melbourne and we need to be more clinical in that area."

The Wallabies have made three changes, one of them positional, to the side that clinched the series last weekend, but they are aware they did not make the most of their possession. Full of praise for the Welsh defence, they have been working hard on ways of countering the 'red wall' they found spread out in front of them.

"They chopped us a lot quicker than in the first Test, especially in the forwards, and that certainly slowed up our ball," admitted number eight Wycliff Palu.

"They got in there pretty quick and so we've been working on a few things at the breakdown.

"There were times when it looked like there was a red wall in front of us and their line speed was very fast."

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