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Hooper and Gill putting pressure on Pocock: Poidevin


Jim Morton

A revelation ... Michael Hooper of the Brumbies.

A revelation ... Michael Hooper of the Brumbies. Photo: Getty Images

Wallabies back-row greats Simon Poidevin and David Wilson believe outstanding young flankers Liam Gill and Michael Hooper will drive each other to immense heights like George Smith and Phil Waugh a decade ago.

Queensland teenager Gill and Brumbies tyro Hooper have made such a mark in their first full seasons of Super Rugby that they, not David Pocock nor Springbok Heinrich Brussow, lead the ball-pilfering statistics.

While Western Force skipper Pocock, 24, looms as the Wallabies long-term No.7, former Test skipper Poidevin rates last year's Australia Under-20 squadmates as international standard flankers.

And Wilson, a World Cup-winning flanker in 1999, can only marvel at the 19 and 20 year-olds.

Gill has been instrumental in the Reds' return to form in the past month, grabbing his chance to take over from injured Beau Robinson, while Hooper's play has seen him poached by the NSW Waratahs for 2013.

Gill's five breakdown steals in Queensland's 42-27 victory over the Chiefs lifted him to the top of the ball-pilfering list on 14 - five ahead of Hooper who cooled his heels with a Brumbies bye.

Reds coach Ewen McKenzie justifiably pointed out his young gun's scavenging ability was even more exceptional considering he spent most of the first month of competition on the bench.

''Yesterday against the Chiefs he was absolutely outstanding and I think the hardest markers of any No.7s are playing against New Zealand sides - they test them like no one else,'' Poidevin said.

''So the fact he's come through the Crusaders and Chiefs with flying colours is a big tick.''

The rising pair go head-to-head in a mouth-watering clash at Canberra Stadium on Saturday week in a pivotal Brumbies-Reds encounter.

Although neither 79-Test Wilson or 59-cap Poidevin are keen to nominate the better of the two, they no longer think the Wallabies will be caught in the same deep hole as last year when, without a sidelined Pocock, they were upset by Ireland at the World Cup.

They expect a healthy long rivalry which will be a huge positive for the Wallabies - like when Smith and Waugh emerged in 2000 after Wilson retired.

''George and Phil putting pressure on each other obviously made [them] better players,'' Wilson said.

''People had said we'd find it hard to replace David Pocock but now we've got these guys champing at his heels.

''Clearly Pocock is the king and these two guys are coming through.

''All three of them are so young - that's the amazing thing.'' AAP

Rugby Internationals 2014

Round 1
Sat, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 18 vs TGA 18 Report Stats
FJI 25 vs ITA 14 Report Stats
NZL 20 vs ENG 15 Report Stats
AUS 50 vs FRA 23 Report Stats
Sun, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 47 vs WXV 13 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 29 Report Stats
USA 6 vs SCO 24 Report Stats
CAN 25 vs JPN 34 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sat, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 15 vs ITA Report Stats
FJI 45 vs TGA 17 Report Stats
NZL 28 vs ENG 27 Report Stats
AUS 6 vs FRA Report Stats
Sun, 15 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 38 vs WAL 16 Report Stats
CAN 17 vs SCO 19 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 23 Report Stats
USA 29 vs JPN 37 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 3
Sat, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
ARG 19 vs SCO 21 Report Stats
FJI 13 vs SAM 18 Report Stats
JPN 26 vs ITA 23 Report Stats
AUS 39 vs FRA 13 Stats
NZL 36 vs ENG 13 Report Stats
Sun, 22 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 31 vs WAL 30 Report Stats
USA 38 vs CAN 35 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 4
Sun, 29 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 55 vs SCO 6 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 5
Sun, 02 NovTimes shown AEDT
BAR vs AUS 01:30Twic
USA vs NZL 07:00Soldier Field
View All Fixtures
Round 6
Sun, 09 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA vs SAM 01:00Stadio Del Duca
ENG vs NZL 01:30Twic
WAL vs AUS 01:30MilS
FRA vs FJI 03:45Stade Velodrome
IRE vs RSA 04:30Lansdowne Road
SCO vs ARG 04:30Murrayfield Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 7
Sun, 16 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA vs ARG 01:00Stadio Comunale Luigi Ferraris
ENG vs RSA 01:30Twic
WAL vs FJI 01:30MilS
SCO vs NZL 04:30Murrayfield Stadium
FRA vs AUS 07:00StdF
Mon, 17 NovTimes shown AEDT
IRE vs GEO 01:30Lansdowne Road
View All Fixtures
Round 8
Sun, 23 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA vs RSA 01:00Stadio Plebiscito
SCO vs TGA 01:30Rugby Park
IRE vs AUS 03:30Lansdowne Road
WAL vs NZL 04:30MilS
ENG vs SAM 06:00Twic
FRA vs ARG 07:00StdF
View All Fixtures
Round 9
Sun, 30 NovTimes shown AEDT
ENG vs AUS 01:30Twic
WAL vs RSA 01:30MilS
View All Fixtures
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