ACT Brumbies to use Pocock as an inspiration
Brumbies skipper Ben Mowen has put the Hurricanes on notice, saying his side will use star Wallabies flanker David Pocock's devastating season-ending injury as a catalyst to spark an extra special Super Rugby performance.
And while Mowen was hesitant to discuss any possible squad replacements for Pocock until after Friday's clash, he admitted veteran Wallabies champion George Smith's name would be in the mix.
Pocock went down late in Saturday's win over the Western Force in Perth and an arthroscopy on Wednesday confirmed he had re-ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament.
The champion No 7 then underwent a full reconstruction on his left knee - the same surgery he had last season after rupturing his ACL in round four of the Super Rugby competition that forced him to be sidelined for the rest of 2013.
"Devastated but trying to keep perspective. So appreciative of all the support I've received. Thank you all," Pocock tweeted on Wednesday evening.
However rather than be distracted by the disappointing news, Mowen said his side would use it as motivation in Wellington.
"We're going to speak as a group and make sure this performance is a pretty special one," Mowen told AAP.
"If you lose a guy like that, you want to make sure he knows how much he means to the boys."
Pocock's injury leaves the Brumbies with the almost impossible task of finding an equally talented replacement.
One option doing the rounds is 111-Test legend Smith, who replaced Pocock in sensational fashion last year to help take the Brumbies to the Super Rugby final.
Smith returns to Australia next week after wrapping up duties in Japan with Suntory Sungoliath.
He intends to take a hard-earned break with his family until May, before flying to France to join division two club Lyon on a two-year deal ahead of the season's September kick-off.
Mowen said Smith's name would definitely pop up among the coaching staff.
"Whether that's a realistic choice or not, I don't know," Mowen said.
"But for a guy who came back and performed so well for the side last year, I'm sure that's an option.
"He may or may not have other priorities, so we've just got to see how all that unfolds."
Smith's management on Wednesday said they'd advise him to take a hard-earned break instead of playing for the ACT franchise, but admitted the Brumbies legend was "his own man" who made his own decisions.
In the meantime, it's expected former Reds back-rower Jarrad Butler will be handed the Brumbies No 7 jersey for the Hurricanes clash.