He won't be bumping bodies with old adversary Richie McCaw in next week's Rugby Championship and Bledisloe Cup opener, but Wallabies dynamo David Pocock is still bracing for a similarly torrid back-row battle with the All Blacks.
McCaw retired after New Zealand's World Cup final win over Australia last year, drawing the curtain on a 148-cap career, arguably the greatest in rugby history.
The champion openside flanker was an almighty pest to opposing sides with his pilfering ability at the breakdown and had plenty of massive tussles in that area with Pocock in recent years.
The two men clashed in 16 Tests with New Zealand winning 12.
In some of their early clashes, Pocock came off the bench behind George Smith, but significantly both men invariably played out the entire game in the Tests they started against each other.
"He was a feature for as long as I can remember, watching and playing, so certainly it's a different (New Zealand) back-row combination there," Pocock said on Friday.
"But from what we've seen during Super Rugby and the June Tests, there's certainly no shortage of talent in that area for the New Zealand team."
Pocock acknowledged All Blacks coach Steve Hansen had a difficult decision to make between McCaw's long-time heir apparent Sam Cane and Ardie Savea, a standout player in the Hurricanes' charge to the Super Rugby title.
"They are both very talented. It's the kind of headache you want as a coach," Pocock said. With Pocock off on a sabbatical next year, Wallabies coach Michael Cheika said there was no long-term plan to permanently stick with the 'Pooper' back-row formation containing two openside flyers.
It worked very effectively at the World Cup, where Pocock played at No.8 and Michael Hooper at No.7.
"It's really about being able to play with both (formations)," Cheika said.
"Being able to play with the two opensides in that format and also in a more traditional back row. We haven't decided," Cheika said.
Pocock missed the June series against England with a fractured eye socket.
The All Blacks arrive in Sydney on Sunday, almost a full week before the Test where they have traditionally come to Australia later in the week.
"They are obviously very serious about continuing their domination. That's why they are here early," Cheika said.
He made light of the suggestion from five-eighth Bernard Foley that the Wallabies would employ more kicking than they did in the recent 3-0 series loss to England.
"I think Bernard hopes that he can do a bit more kicking. I'm not really sure if it's in the game plan," Cheika said.
"He just likes the idea of doing a few more kicks because he's practising a little bit more. "We might look for the odd variation here or there, but we're quite happy with the way we attacked in June.
"We had to be a bit more clinical."