Peter O'Mahony comments on David Pocock should put an end to the bullshit
Well said by the Ireland captain.
Michael Cheika knows all about Neil Francis. He knew all about him when he was Leinster coach and the distance of time [he left the province in 2010] have not dulled his recollections of the former Ireland lock.
Francis is outspoken on many rugby matters - Wales Online are constantly up in arms about his columns - and his piece reviewing Ireland's 18-9 loss to Australia was no departure. He noted how David Pocock ran amok at the breakdown but went several steps too far when he described the Wallabies flanker as 'a cancer on the game'.
Those comments were touched upon in The Hard Yards and have filtered their way Down Under. At his press briefing after Thursday's team announcement, Cheika told reporters that he had no issue with his players being critiqued but he did not like the term cancer being used.
"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."
Having once described Leinster, under Cheika, as 'ladyboys', the Australia head coach almost had Francis in his rear-view. Almost.
The matter was put emphatically to bed by Ireland captain Peter O'Mahony, who possesses a wonder ability to cut through the bullshit and tell it as it is. Asked about the Francis comments, O'Mahony responded:
"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'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."
Well said by the Munster blindside, who will be well aware of the need to shut Pocock out of the Second Test more than Ireland managed to do in Brisbane.
The matter was nicely covered by former Leinster and Ireland star Kevin McLaughlin on The Hard Yards [from 26:00 below].
"I think that's ludicrous from Neil Francis," McLaughlin began, "because it makes the breakdown way more interesting.
"You've got this grey scrum-cap [Pocock's] hovering about every single ruck. It puts huge pessure on the attack and that's what you want. You want to have to work hard for the ball.
"It's massive for Ireland and they'll have a target, now, to aim for. They'll be putting one of the poor bench players in a grey scrum-cap this week and kicking the absolute shite out of him. I guarantee it... It may be Tadhg Beirne, I guess. The absolute perfect target!"
Rather than being a blight, Pocock taking on Ireland at the breakdown will be a must-watch spectacle that could be the winning and losing of a crucial Test match. Bring it on.