Talismanic Wallabies back-rower David Pocock is ready to lock horns with Richie McCaw in the Rugby World Cup final confident he’s overcome his calf injury.
The brilliant openside flanker turned No.8 is regarded absolutely crucial to the Wallabies’ hopes of an upset win in the all-Anzac decider at Twickenham on Saturday (Sunday 0300 AEDT), having shown he stands alone – beyond even McCaw – as the world’s best ball-thief at the breakdown.
Pocock worked around the clock on a calf injury with medical staff to take the field in Sunday’s semi-final victory over Argentina, but said he came through unscathed, having put in another outstanding performance while playing the full 80 minutes.
He effected four turnovers to take his personal tally to 14 for the tournament, well clear as the best at the World Cup.
It left him in no doubt that he’s ready to throw himself into the biggest Test of his career, where he will be matched against McCaw, who is believed to be playing the final Test of his storied career.
“You always want to play against the best,” Pocock said.
Pocock was only confirmed as a starter for Sunday’s clash with Argentina after working tirelessly with the team doctor and physiotherapists to overcome the calf injury he picked up in the Wallabies’ final pool match – the victory over Wales a fortnight ago.
“I guess there was always the possibility (I would miss the game),” he said.
“We were pushing hard for it, but it’s a pretty unique environment when you can just really focus on rehab and have the support from the medical team.”
The stressful lead-in to the match had absolutely no negative effect on Pocock’s play, as he once again turned the Wallabies into a destructive force at the breakdown.
“I was really happy to get out there and I felt pretty good,” he said.
“There’s a few pretty sore guys walking around. We’ll recover really well and get into all the reviews and previews and all the rest, and get into the week.
“It’s a short turnaround. But how exciting – we’re very happy.”
There’s no doubt that coming into the last week of October without a broadcast rights deal in place for 2021 is less than ideal for Rugby Australia. But developments over the last week or so suggest that whatever deal is done from here is going to be a whole lot better than expected.