Pocock no cancer on the game: O'Mahony

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

High-profile commentator Neil Francis might think Wallabies flanker David Pocock is a ‘cancer on the game’, but that's from the view taken by his June Test opponents, Ireland captain Peter O’Mahony says.

Asked his view on the comments, made by Francis in a piece for The Independent, O’Mahony said they would never back any of those kinds of sentiments.

“I don't read a huge of media stuff and I don't read a huge amount of Neil Francis stuff but I certainly don't think that's the opinion we, certainly as a group, or as a nation have of David,” he said.

“He's an incredible rugby player - you saw the impact on the game he had last week and I certainly wouldn't be standing by a comment like that.

O’Mahony and his backrow teammates, CJ Stander and Dan Leavy, will be occupied with stopping Pocock on the field on Saturday night, a task that he showed would be a tricky one, with an outstanding Test return.

“It's a very difficult thing to do,” O’Mahony said.

“He is a quality rugby player, (he’s) been proving that for a long time, so it's an individual battle that if we have at the breakdown that he's there, whoever's there at the breakdown, you've got to be there or you're trying to negate him, which is a difficult thing to do.

“You saw the impact that he had last week, so it's something we have to try and solve.”

Australia has stuck with the same 23 that won in Brisbane, while Ireland has made eight changes to the side, but O’Mahony said facing a known quantity would not make anything easier.

“I wouldn't say it's easier, you're still meeting with one of the best squads in the world,” he said.

“As much work as you can do, you’ve got to go and negate actually in the 80 minutes, which is the difficult thing, so I don't think that makes much of a difference.”

David Pocock impressed for the Wallabies in Brisbane. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart WalmsleyIreland’s team is a step above the lineup from Brisbane, but O’Mahony said the side would still need an outing better than any in their last year and a half

“We understand that we were beaten by a better team last Saturday and we're going to have to put in a performance that's been better than any performance we've put in over the last 18 months to beat this Australian side,” he said.

“This Australian team, they're one of the best in the world, and we're going to have to up our game from the standards that we set in the Six nations, which we certainly didn't do last week.”

The Wallabies take on Ireland on Saturday night, kicking off at 8:05pm AEST, LIVE on FOX SPORTS, Channel Ten and via RUGBY.com.au RADIO. Buy tickets here.