IT WAS not until Fotu Auelua saw footage of David Pocock's ACT Brumbies debut against the Queensland Reds that he realised just how much work the Wallabies captain did.
And the Brumbies are expecting Pocock to be even more influential in his second game, against the Melbourne Rebels at AAMI Park on Friday night.
Auelua came off the bench and slotted into the back row with Pocock for the first time on Saturday.
The human wrecking ball was nothing but impressed with what he saw and his respect only grew when he reviewed the game. He thought Pocock's ability to get to seemingly every breakdown and knack of stealing the ball at critical moments would be crucial to the Brumbies' success this year.
"[Pocock] is a world-class player and you don't really see what he's doing on the field until you revisit the game," Auelua said. "Just to know that you've got a player beside you like Pocock gives you a lot of confidence – he'll do his job and do it really well."
Fellow back-rower Peter Kimlin agreed.
"I think the thing about world-class No. 7s is you don't notice them on the field because they're just everywhere," he said.
"It's pretty similar to George Smith in that way – every game he got points from every single player because he was so dominant in everything he did, I think he's similar to David in that way."
Auelua managed 29 minutes off the bench against the Reds and is hoping for more in Melbourne. But he realises there was plenty of competition for spots in the back row, and if his role is to come off the bench and be a "hit man", then so be it.
The 29-year-old is competing with Kimlin and Brumbies skipper Ben Mowen to get into the starting line-up. Whatever the combination, they form a powerful back row that looks to use physicality as a weapon.
On Friday the Brumbies come up against Welsh international and Melbourne captain Gareth Delve and Wallabies blindside breakaway Scott Higginbotham.