AAP Rugby

Pocock dodges claim of ref scrutiny

By AAP Newswire

A bemused David Pocock is steering clear of Michael Cheika's theory that match officials targeted him during Australia's Rugby World Cup opening win over Fiji.

World class back rower Pocock was happy just to complete his first 80-minute game of rugby for nearly a year as the Wallabies powered home 39-21 after a scratchy start.

Tolu Latu's two tries from lineout drives mirrored exactly what Pocock did himself four years ago when Australia opened the previous tournament with a 28-13 defeat of Fiji in Cardiff.

This time the 31-year-old's primary goal was to come through unscathed, something he achieved in a solid performance.

Pocock's name only came to prominence after fulltime when Cheika revealed to journalists what he heard throughout the game from referee Ben O'Keeffe in his microphone discussions with linesmen Luke Pearce and Andrew Brace.

"I'm not sure what (Pocock's) done but there was some severe focus on him," Cheika said.

"I heard his name mentioned between them on the commentary at least half a dozen times in their own chat when he hadn't even been involved in the ruck."

Pocock appeared surprised by his coach's observations but wouldn't say if he'd noticed a focus on his breakdown conduct.

"You're not thinking about that stuff out there. We'll have a look at the review and see. I'll leave that speculation to you guys," he said.

"Generally refs are doing a really good job. As long as there's clear communication and consistency, as a player that's all you can ask for."

Pocock was pleased with how the Wallabies eventually found their feet after the early Fiji onslaught.

The 31-year-old said they never expected anything other than a fierce contest against opponents who are menacing on attack and growing belief in their capability up front.

"They've got some proper danger men out there," he said.

"But once we started holding the ball and building some pressure through our set piece, we got better.

"We had to. Fiji's never going to be an easy game and we came into it expecting a really solid game, physical.

"We weathered the storm a little bit and then got out in front and finished much better."