Pocock brushes off cheating slur
Wallabies flanker David Pocock has laughed off suggestions he is a 'cheat' in the wake of his dominant performance against South Africa.
The 23-year-old was the key figure in Australia's unlikely 11-9 Rugby World Cup quarter-final victory over the Springboks, affecting several crucial turnovers to keep the defending champions at bay.
Coach Robbie Deans and other respected experts lauded Pocock's performance as the most dominant individual effort of the tournament.
But not everyone was happy with the No.7's methods.
Springboks captain John Smit openly questioned the legality of Pocock's breakdown tactics after the loss, while South Africa's fans unloaded on the superstar fetcher on social media sites.
"It's been pretty funny this week checking the Twitter timeline every now and then for the South African fans, it been in good humour," Pocock said.
"I think it's fairly standard (being called a cheat) for most No.7s."
The Wallabies will need all of Pocock's pilfering prowess in order to upset New Zealand in Sunday's World Cup semi-final at Eden Park.
Pocock believes the battle of the breakdown will ultimately decide the match and said the All Blacks are more difficult proposition than the Springboks.
"The All Blacks probably have a different set of threats," he said.
"They use a bit more footwork and you'd probably have to say their work at the breakdown across the board is probably a bit better (than South Africa) ... so we're going to have to step up from last week at the breakdown."
"It's fairly standard in games these days for openside flankers to cop a bit of heat from the opposition and they've got Richie McCaw too, so it's going to be a really important part of the game and both teams know that."
Pocock dismissed suggestions McCaw will be hampered by a chronic foot injury that is believed to require surgery.
"I think at this stage of the tournament there wouldn't be too many blokes who aren't carrying some sort of injury, but come game night everyone puts that behind them and once you're out there you don't notice anything," he said.
Meanwhile, the Wallabies remain 'optimistic' gun fullback Kurtley Beale will overcome a hamstring strain in time to face the All Blacks.
Prop Sekope Kepu (ankle) also sat out the side's first field session of the week on Wednesday but is expected to be available, while Pat McCabe trained strongly despite dislocating his shoulder on Sunday.
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