Monday 22 October 2018

'It's not a very nice thing to say' - Michael Cheika hits back at Neil Francis' criticism of David Pocock

9 June 2018; Australia head coach Michael Cheika prior to the 2018 Mitsubishi Estate Ireland Series 1st Test match between Australia and Ireland at Suncorp Stadium, in Brisbane, Australia. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
9 June 2018; Australia head coach Michael Cheika prior to the 2018 Mitsubishi Estate Ireland Series 1st Test match between Australia and Ireland at Suncorp Stadium, in Brisbane, Australia. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Australia head coach Michael Cheika has hit out at Neil Francis over his criticism of Wallabies openside flanker David Pocock.

The number seven wreaked havoc at the breakdown in Brisbane last Saturday as Ireland fell to an 18-9 first test defeat, and writing in the Sunday Independent the following day, Francis said that Pocock was a 'cancer on the game'.

Ahead of the second test, Francis said that Joe Schmidt's men must negate the influence of the breakdown specliaist.

"I think David Pocock is a cancer on the game," Francis wrote.

"Yes, I do have grudging admiration for all his abilities and it is great when you have a player like that in your side . . . he had six legal turnovers and three illegal turnovers, and he and his buddy Michael Hooper managed to slow the ball down more than enough to stop any rhythm that Ireland looked like they were beginning to achieve.

"You have to make special preparations to counter Pocock."

Wallabies coach Cheika addressed the remarks at his press conference today, and said that Francis' comments were disrespectful to people suffering from the illness.

"That guy needs to choose his words a little better I think, to be honest," he said.

"It’s not a very nice thing to say.

"I’m not worried about what he thinks about Poey’s footy, I just think that’s not a very nice term to use.

"There’s people who are really sick out there. I’m not into that.

"He used to say a lot of stuff about us when I coached Leinster as well. Some unflattering words he would use for his own publicity. That’s fine."

Ireland face Australia in the second test of their series in Melbourne this Saturday, with the game kicking off at 11am.

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