The Brumbies expect the Highlanders to target David Pocock in his expected return from injury in Friday’s Super Rugby quarter-final.
The superstar flanker is set to be named in the side to take on the defending champions at GIO Stadium, provided he gets through a training session on Wednesday afternoon.
Pocock hasn’t played since fracturing his eye socket six weeks ago in the Wallabies first Test against England.
“He’s trained well the last couple of weeks and got through some contact work so we’re hopeful that will all happen,” assistant coach Dan McKellar said.
It’s not clear whether he will don the special headgear he has worn during training.
Playmaker Matt Toomua knows Pocock’s presence will be a massive boost for the Brumbies, who need to lift their game after two less-than-impressive performances against lowly ranked teams.
“To have him in these big games and hopefully slow up their ball will be brilliant,” he said.
“They like to play that really fast footy and with a guy like him either stealing the ball or slowing it down definitely plays into our hands.”
The Highlanders found a way to limit Pocock’s influence the last time they met in Invercargill in round 10, which they won 23-10.
It was also his comeback game from a two-match suspension.
“I’m sure they’ll be focusing on him heavily – as you would,” Toomua added.
“But that can provide opportunities for other guys. We’ve got more guys than just Dave, but in saying that, to have him back in such a great game is always a good thing.”