Pocock ready for return as Brumbies brace for ‘do-or-die’
THE long-awaited return of David Pocock and a string of home games have emboldened the Brumbies as they prepare to enter "do-or-die" Super Rugby territory.
The new campaign is only a month old but the tight nature of the Australian conference means crunch time has already arrived.
Fresh from their 24-17 win over the Sharks on Saturday, the Brumbies have the bye this weekend and will need all the rest they can get ahead of what looms as a season-defining stretch.
Six of their next seven games will be played at GIO Stadium in Canberra - starting with their March 31 showdown with the NSW Waratahs, who proved their conference-winning credentials with a 51-27 thumping of the previously unbeaten Melbourne Rebels.
Every team - barring the Sunwolves of Japan, who are winless - is entitled to believe they are in with a shot of finishing top and qualifying for the finals.
"Everything's tightening up in the Aussie conference," winger Andy Muirhead said.
"Every team has dropped a game or two now.
"It's probably going to be a do-or-die match for us in terms of how we're going to end up at the end of the season.
"All the boys have got to get up for a big Tah week like we always do."
The sheer presence of Pocock should help.
The 29-year-old's last match for the Brumbies was in their July 2016 semi-final loss to the Highlanders, having spent all of last year on a Rugby Australia-sanctioned sabbatical from the game.
His comeback was delayed due to pre-season knee surgery to repair a damaged meniscus but barring any mishaps over the next fortnight, Pocock and co-captain Sam Carter (concussion) should both figure against the Waratahs.
"With Poey's experience and knowledge and Carts as well, it'll be a big booster for our forward pack," said rookie hooker Folau Fainga'a.