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Rugby Championship Australia coach Michael Cheika backs David Pocock, Michael Hooper to disrupt All Blacks' momentum

Australia coach Michael Cheika revealed he was inspired by South Africa in his decision to pick both Michael Hooper and David Pocock against New Zealand.

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play (Omni Sports)

Australia coach Michael Cheika revealed he was inspired by South Africa in his decision to pick both Michael Hooper and David Pocock against New Zealand.

Hooper and Pocock - veterans of 42 and 45 caps, respectively - are both openside flankers at club level, and alternated in the number seven jersey in the Wallabies' opening two matches in the Rugby Championship.

But with the Springboks having had some success in disrupting New Zealand in their 27-20 loss on July 25 with flanker Schalk Burger playing at number eight, Cheika decided Hooper and Pocock both deserved starts in Sydney.

"I don't think it's a gamble," Cheika told Fox Sports' Rugby HQ on Thursday.

"You've got the players who have probably played the best over the first two games playing together so I don't think there is a gamble."

"People will say you're taking a gamble around your set-piece. The New Zealand coach [Steve Hansen] intimated today that that would be a weakness for us and he may well be right.

"It will be up to us in the way that we've prepared the set-piece to show that it's not going to be a weakness on Saturday."

Pocock will wear number eight and Hooper number seven against the All Blacks.

Hooper played a full 80 minutes in the Wallabies' Rugby Championship opener - scoring a try in their 24-20 victory over the Springboks - while Pocock completed an entire shift in Australia's 34-9 win over Argentina.

Saturday's match at ANZ Stadium will decide the 2015 Rugby Championship winner, while it will also double as the Bledisloe Cup series opener.

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