Wallabies ballhogs set to be reunited in Sydney for Bledisloe Cup test.

A year ago, the Wallabies selected the unorthodox 'Pooper' loose forward combination of David Pocock and Michael Hooper against the All Blacks for the first time, a calculated roll of the dice from new coach Michael Cheika which hit the jackpot.

The pair, plus blindside flanker Scott Fardy, dominated the All Blacks at the breakdown in a 27-19 victory in Sydney, a rare defeat for coach Steve Hansen which created the environment for a backlash at Eden Park a week later, when the All Blacks romped to a 41-13 win.

Strangely, Pocock didn't start in Auckland, Cheika preferring the older and slower Wycliff Palu at No8 in that big defeat, but the potentially devastating duo are almost certain to reform their partnership at ANZ Stadium next Saturday and that could give the All Blacks cause for concern.

Sam Cane's concussion suffered in the Chiefs' semifinal defeat to the Hurricanes a fortnight ago is another factor for Hansen to consider, although the No7 has returned to training and Hansen is confident of his availability.


Clearly, given Ardie Savea's recent form, the All Blacks will lose little if the Hurricanes flanker starts, but the reserves bench combinations will be altered and Hansen wouldn't be guaranteed the last-quarter impact among the loose forwards that was such a feature of the June tests against Wales.

In Sydney last year, the Wallabies scored 10 points in the final 12 minutes to overhaul the All Blacks for a famous victory.

The third test between the nations last year happened to be the World Cup final and the All Blacks, who stated all week during the build-up that they wouldn't concentrate unduly on Pocock and Hooper at the expense of the other Australians on the pitch, proved they learned the lessons of their earlier failure.

"It's a huge threat and I don't know if you ever feel comfortable against that combination, they offer something different all the time," All Blacks blindside flanker Jerome Kaino told Australian media recently.

"Whoever they pick in their loose forwards, there's going to be different styles of player but definitely that Hooper-Pocock combination is one to watch out for."

It's looming as a big week for both coaches.

There will be pressure on Cheika following the comprehensive three-test defeat against England at home, and there will be interest in how Hansen, returning to the scene of last year's defeat with far less preparation time compared with his opposite, selects his team.

Adding to the potential fireworks between the pair, who have engaged in verbal sparring in the past, is the fact that the All Blacks will leave for Sydney tomorrow, rather than on Thursday as has been their recent preference, which could lift their profile as far as the Australian media is concerned.

Another is the fact that Hansen's former assistant Mick Byrne is now helping the Wallabies.