Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 28 December 2014

Pocock unfazed by cheat talk

David Pocock
David Pocock

Match-winning Australia flanker David Pocock has laughed off suggestions he is a cheat in the wake of his dominant World Cup performance against South Africa.

The 23-year-old was the key figure in Australia's unlikely 11-9 quarter-final victory over the Springboks, affecting several crucial turnovers to keep the defending champions at bay. Coach Robbie Deans and other respected experts lauded Pocock's performance as the most dominant individual effort of the tournament.

But not everyone was happy with the number seven's methods. Springboks captain John Smit openly questioned the legality of Pocock's breakdown tactics after the loss, while South Africa fans unloaded on the superstar fetcher on social media sites. "It's been pretty funny this week checking the Twitter timeline every now and then for the South African fans," Pocock told reporters.

"It's been in good humour. I think it's fairly standard (being called a cheat) for most number sevens."

The Wallabies will need all of Pocock's pilfering prowess in order to upset the All Blacks in Sunday's World Cup semi-final at Eden Park. Pocock declared the battle of the breakdown will ultimately decide the match and admits the All Blacks are a more difficult proposition than the Springboks.

"The All Blacks probably have a different set of threats," he said.

"They use a bit more footwork and you'd probably have to say their work at the breakdown across the board is probably a bit better (than South Africa). So we're going to have to step up from last week at the breakdown.

"It's fairly standard in games these days for openside flankers to cop a bit of heat from the opposition and they've got Richie McCaw too, so it's going to be a really important part of the game and both teams know that."

Pocock dismissed suggestions McCaw will be hampered by a chronic foot injury that is believed to require surgery.

"I think at this stage of the tournament there wouldn't be too many blokes who aren't carrying some sort of injury, but come game night everyone puts that behind them and once you're out there you don't notice anything," he said.

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