Evans warned over Pocock neck roll

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

Hurricanes No. 8 Gareth Evans has escaped with a warning after a nasty incident involving David Pocock in Saturday's Super Rugby thriller.

Pocock was in a typically strong position over the breakdown late in the second half when Evans - desperate to budge the star flanker from his immovable stance - reverted to a neck roll which left the Brumbies openside in serious discomfort.

But referee Nick Briant told Brumbies skipper Christian Lealiifano he 'didn't see much in it' and elected to only award a penalty - despite that action potentially far more dangerous than other incidents which result with players sent to the sin bin.

Brumbies coach Dan McKellar called for a crackdown on that type of foul play post-match, fuming over the lack of action.

"The big one for me is the neck roll on Poey," McKellar said.

"That's just dangerous.

"We see Israel (Folau) get suspended for an accidental collision in the air and then we have one of the world's best flankers with his head over the ball, twisted in an awkward (position) - it's really dangerous.

"They have to start coming down (hard) on those sort of actions."

The neck roll and an apparent shoulder injury to Scott Sio were the only sore points in a win that must have been very fulfilling for McKellar.

He has forged on with a fresh game plan without a great deal of success this season but his team's past month - which has now featured wins over the Bulls, Sunwolves and Hurricanes - is proof a platform has been built from which his team is now thriving.

"If this is our last game it's a good way to finish our season in front of our fans," he said.

"That's something we spoke about before the game - not fearing failure and just worrying about what was in front of us.

"We played well against the Lions, Bulls, Sunwolves, against the Rebels we were the best team for 65 minutes.

"They had a few players out tonight but we did as well and it's just pleasing to get the monkey off the back with New Zealand teams.

"Now we have to go over there and try win one in Hamilton."

The Brumbies must finish their final fortnight with consecutive wins - against the Chiefs in Hamilton and the Waratahs in Sydney - if they are any hope of playing finals football.

It would be quite the achievement if ACT could sneak into the finals and no less, just rewards for a markedly improved second half of the season.

"I'm just happy for the group," McKellar said.

"We have worked really hard over the last month and the boys have come back from Wallabies camp - it's good to have everyone together again.

"We've said when you make change it always takes a bit of time and we are starting to see rewards for that change over the last few weeks.

"This is our own little block of finals - we've won this one but we've got two to go."