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Pocock not McCaw is my toughest opponent, says Wales great Sam Warburton

David Pocock is the best player of his generation ahead of Richie McCaw, according to former Wales and Lions captain Sam Warburton.

The former Wales player reckons if Wallabies Coach Michael Cheika only has one option to pick an open-side flanker for their World Cup opener against Fiji, Pocock should be the man ahead of skipper Michael Hooper.

When asked if Pocock was better then McCaw, Warburton made it clear who his most difficult opponent was.

“I found him more difficult, yeah,” Warburton told Fox Sports Australia.

“Those two were obviously the top two guys, he’s the closest thing to a man-for-man marker."

“When I’m saying this generation, I kind of probably mean the last five years onwards."

“But even with Richie McCaw, I didn’t play against anyone who was better than him (Pocock)."

“For me, he was a real force, in the northern hemisphere, if you’re looking at openside flankers I think he’s the most highly regarded, I always say he was my most difficult opponent.”

The make-up of the Australian side's loose forward trio is the Wallabies' main selection headaches five days out from the match against Fiji in Sapporo.

Warburton thinks it will be a luxury to play both opensides at once as the Wallabies have the depth to do so. He believes rugby players are becoming more athletic each day that having a big blindside is not necessary.  

“Rugby players are becoming more and more athletic, it’s not so much of an issue if you don’t have a six-foot four blindside flanker playing anymore," Warburton said.

Playing both Hooper and Pocock at once will be force other nations to play a similar style to the Wallabies, Warburton said.  

“We played against both of them in 2015 and we realised when you play Australia you’ve got to fight fire with fire in some departments and we picked two opensides to play against Hooper and Pocock as well to help us in that game.

“If you’re a lone No 7 playing against those two it’s a very long day, those two together are a great combination.”

David Pocock. Source: Photosport