This weekend's clash between the All Blacks and Wallabies could be the last time we see two of the world's best players go head-to-head.

Richie McCaw and David Pocock are the premier openside flankers in the game and their duel in Sydney will be worth the price of admission alone, especially considering the context.

It's doubtful we'll get to see them face off at the Rugby World Cup in England and Wales, starting next month, because, Australia can only meet the All Blacks in the semifinals or the final.

You also have to wonder, if the All Blacks do a good job of the game in Sydney, whether they'll make some changes for the Eden Park test and give McCaw a break.


And with McCaw almost certainly retiring from international rugby at the end of the year, this weekend's clash at ANZ Stadium could be the captain's last against Pocock.

I think people who were critical of McCaw earlier in the season have now seen how important he is to All Black rugby, which is only reinforced by the fact the coaches won't take him off. They need him out there because of what he does for 80 minutes, and that's a big part of why he's considered the best in the world.

But Pocock is capable of being as good as McCaw in everything he does, and he's also equally valuable for Australia.

But his importance was somewhat lost in the last couple of years, as he dealt with significant injuries.

Often when a player is forced out of the game for that long -- even those at the top of their game and considered near the top in their position -- we quickly forget about their quality.

That was especially true in Pocock's case because when you took into account the emergence of Michael Hooper, everything looked great for Australian rugby and the openside jersey.

Pocock was pretty much forgotten and, when he attempted to make his comeback at the start of 2014, he suffered another terrible leg injury that put him out of rugby for the second year in a row.

But how good has he been since returning to the top level? He has shown his undoubted quality this year for the Brumbies and he cleaned up at the club's awards dinner last week, winning best forward, supporters' choice and players' player of the year.

And the way he's come back into the Wallabies' mix has been equally impressive -- when they injected him while trailing against the Springboks, the game completely changed. He's now forced his way into the starting line-up as well, which means in Sydney we're going to get two of the greatest opensides of the past decade finally matching up again after such a long absence.

However, there is the outside chance Wallabies coach Michael Cheika opts instead for Hooper in the No7 jersey, especially after he escaped from suspension by sitting out a club game in the weekend.

There was no way Hooper would have turned out for Manly so that made the decision reasonably farcical, because he's not really being punished by missing a game he would have never played.

But I didn't agree the offence was worth a week, anyway. I've never been a fan of jersey-pullers. It's the most infuriating thing because, basically, they're cheating and it never gets picked up.

And when it's in a try-scoring sequence, if you don't react they'll get away with it. Hooper never punched the guy -- it was an open-hand slap, and one that was deserved if you ask me.