A Brumbies side without David Pocock might give the Waratahs the smallest sense of relief but NSW no. 8 Michael Wells says any void the Wallabies star has left is already being filled.

The Waratahs lost their last match against the Brumbies in Canberra with Pocock missing from the side and with the star no

Wells’ former Sevens teammate Tom Cusack has been leading the charge in a developing backrow, while Wallaby Pete Samu and

Wells said Pocock’s absence certainly took a threat away from the Brumbies but their other backrowers were stepping up.

“Obviously, without his presence on ball, it obviously helps us, but Cusack’s a strong player in his own right and they’ve got onballers who kind of make up for Poey not being there.

“So, we’re not taking it any easier just because he’s not there.”

“With Pocock being out, it’s given Cusack a strong opportunity to make the seven jersey his own.

“They’ve still got great depth in their backrow and they’ve had a lot of strength even Jahrome Brown’s done quite well for himself coming in this year.

“They’ve done really well.”

It was defence that helped the Waratahs notch an upset 20-15 win over the Rebels in Melbourne and Wells said that would again be decisive against a Brumbies outfit that has proven it can score from a number of sources.

“The Brumbies are going to come at us with a strong set piece,” Wells said.

“I know their centres are good ball runners, also Irae (Simone) had a really strong game last week against the Sunwolves.

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“So, we’re going to have to stand up defensively and the better defensive team will win the game again.”

It will be a home ground swansong for at least three Waratahs with Nick Phipps, Sekope Kepu and Curtis Rona all heading to London Irish next year but Wells said the must-win nature of the match was the focus of the week.

“I think you never do things just for the individuals,” he said.

“Obviously those blokes have more meaning to it for themselves obviously Fanga, Keps particularly have been here for a long time and they’ve put a lot of effort into the club and so for them they’d want to go out on a high note as a home game but I think we’re just looking at getting a team result, no one’s thinking individually just yet.”

The Waratahs are expected to field their strongest side available against the Brumbies, despite a number of their Wallaby players still needing to fulfil World Cup rotation requirements.

Lock Ned Hanigan sat out training on Tuesday, recovering from a head knock, while Jack Dempsey is expected to miss another week with a niggling back issue.

The Waratahs take on the Brumbies at Bankwest Stadium on Saturday June 8, kicking off at 7:45pm AEST, LIVE on FOX SPORTS, Kayo and via RUGBY.com.au RADIO. Buy tickets here.