Tuesday September 07, 2010
All Blacks captain Richie McCaw is used to hearing he gets special treatment from referees, but Wallabies opponent David Pocock reckons the critics are selling the great New Zealander short.
Openside flanker Pocock, who has nailed down the No.7 shirt occupied by George Smith and Phil Waugh for the past decade, is looking forward to locking horns with McCaw again in Saturday's Tri Nations clash at Sydney's ANZ Stadium.
The 22-year-old Western Force forward was one of the stars in Australia's stirring 41-39 victory over South Africa in Bloemfontein last Sunday.
He has emerged as a new rival to McCaw, who he agreed was the benchmark for all openside flankers.
"Yeah, RichieMcCaw proves a challenge for Pocock has been up there for a long time and he's very smart and very good about the way he goes about his game and plays to the limit, which is what a Test No.7 should be doing," Pocock said at Sydney Airport on Monday.
"Like every good openside he has a high work rate, he's smart and he's good at reading the play and pops up at the right time.
"I guess the key is the way he reads refs.
"A lot of people think he gets away with stuff, but I think it's just the way that he plays right to the edge and good on him.
"I really enjoy playing against him. It's a great challenge and it's something that I look forward to."
Zimbabwe-born Pocock was back to his ball-pilfering best in Bloemfontein after having a relatively quiet match in the loss to South Africa in Pretoria the previous week.
"Going in to the Bloemfontein Test, I had more of a focus on picking and choosing when to go in to rucks," Pocock said.