Pocock ‘ref clarity’ spells bad news for Wales
WORLD Rugby has given Wallaby warhorse David Pocock tips on what he needs to do to avoid another run-in with the referees in Sunday's World Cup showdown with Wales.
Australia coach Michael Cheika was baffled why Pocock, the king of the breakdown, was penalised in last weekend's win over Fiji and why the match officials kept mentioning his name over the talkback radio system.
With Pocock looming as Australia's trump card against Wales because of their struggles to prevent him stealing the ball, Cheika took it upon himself to contact World Rugby's high performance manager to ask for an explanation about was singled out.
"In fairness there, we wrote to Allain Rolland and he sent us back some excellent responses, which we have passed back to David so I think we have some good clarity there now," Cheika said.
Not wanting to give anything away, with so much on the line, Cheika was unsurprisingly not forthcoming about what the officials told Pocock, but Wallaby skipper Michael Hooper said he couldn't see anything wrong with what his fellow backrower was doing.
"It is something that Dave I am sure has looked at," Hooper said.
"For mine, I thought he was pretty good, being a fellow seven, particularly that one right at the start of the game.
"I thought he had all rights to the ball, great turnover. I am excited to see what he'll do this week.
"I am sure he'll want to come at the ball pretty hard and he is pretty damn good there."
The Welsh would love nothing more than to see Pocock whistled out of the game, given he's been a thorn in their side for years, so the news he's been given some instructions on how to avoid being penalised isn't what the Six Nations champions want to hear.
"We did a good job last year on Hooper," Wales coach Warren Gatland said.
"He had about 12 attempts against us trying to steal the ball and he did not get any.
"Pocock was a different story. He had about 10 attempts and got about five.
"He is a big threat and it is something we must focus on. He is pretty good at picking his timings when he does go for the ball in a turnover.
"They are two definite threats at the breakdown but we are pretty happy with our loose forwards, with their ball carrying physicality as well. They are all capable of playing six, seven and eight which is pretty similar to Australia."
Stream the Rugby World Cup 2019 on KAYO SPORTS. Every match Live & On-Demand on your TV, computer, mobile or tablet. Get your 14 day free trial >