Cheika slams Neil Francis over Pocock ‘cancer’ comments

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    Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has slammed former Irish lock Neil Francis for calling David Pocock a “cancer on the game”.

    Writing in UK paper The Independent, the player-turned-pundit criticised the Australian flanker after his star performance in the Wallabies’ opening win over Ireland.

    “I think David Pocock is a cancer on the game,” wrote Francis, who played 36 Tests between 1987 and 1996.

    “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.”

    The description of Pocock, who was playing his first Test in 18 months after taking a sabbatical, riled Cheika.

    “That guy needs to choose his words better,” Cheika said.

    “It’s not a very nice term to use to say … there are people who are really sick out there so I’m not into that.”

    Cheika said he himself had been in Francis’ firing line when he was coaching Leinster.

    “He used to say a lot of stuff about us when we coached Leinster, some unflattering words he would use for his own publicity.”

    Francis courted controversy in 2014 when expressed his belief that gay people had no interest in sport.

    © AAP 2018

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    The Crowd Says (76)

    • June 14th 2018 @ 6:24pm
      Boomeranga said | June 14th 2018 @ 6:24pm | ! Report

      There’s a long running thread on PR dedicated to Franno. Apparently his views and the way he expresses himself are unusual.

    • Roar Rookie

      June 14th 2018 @ 6:41pm
      piru said | June 14th 2018 @ 6:41pm | ! Report

      Neil who?

      • June 14th 2018 @ 7:50pm
        SP said | June 14th 2018 @ 7:50pm | ! Report

        Some guy who never achieved anything and like a lot of former irish players, is living vicariously through the moderate success of this irish team – a ranking of 2nd and beating the AB’s in an exhibition match

        • Roar Guru

          June 15th 2018 @ 9:11am
          soapit said | June 15th 2018 @ 9:11am | ! Report

          so the all blacks play exhibition tests now?

        • June 15th 2018 @ 12:09pm
          Jerry said | June 15th 2018 @ 12:09pm | ! Report

          He may be a troll but he achieved more in rugby than anyone on this board.

          • Roar Rookie

            June 15th 2018 @ 1:50pm
            piru said | June 15th 2018 @ 1:50pm | ! Report

            Doesn’t make him any less contemptible

          • Roar Guru

            June 15th 2018 @ 2:28pm
            Wal said | June 15th 2018 @ 2:28pm | ! Report

            I don’t know Jerry the try I scored in Under 11’s was pretty spectacular.

        • Roar Guru

          June 15th 2018 @ 2:02pm
          Cadfael said | June 15th 2018 @ 2:02pm | ! Report

          The same guy who said that gay people have no or little interest in sport.

          Interesting that he is complaining about our tactics when it was only a few years back that SARU complained to the then IRB about the Irish tactics. Seems OK for so0me but not others.

          • Roar Guru

            June 15th 2018 @ 2:57pm
            Corne Van Vuuren said | June 15th 2018 @ 2:57pm | ! Report

            Yeah, remember that match, was extremely frustrating to watch

    • Roar Guru

      June 14th 2018 @ 7:20pm
      Timbo (L) said | June 14th 2018 @ 7:20pm | ! Report

      Cancer is an invasive disease that disrupts your plans and is really hard to get rid of.

      Sounds about Right, and a compliment.

      I think Poey was hard done by for a couple of calls and got away with a couple of others.

      There is a fine line between resting and leaning.

      • June 14th 2018 @ 8:45pm
        Zedman said | June 14th 2018 @ 8:45pm | ! Report

        Stupid comment.

      • June 15th 2018 @ 10:16am
        Drongo said | June 15th 2018 @ 10:16am | ! Report

        ‘About right’. Charming, as usual. No need to say more, your comment speaks for itself and displays your mindset for the all on here to see.

        • Roar Rookie

          June 15th 2018 @ 10:54am
          piru said | June 15th 2018 @ 10:54am | ! Report

          Read the comment Drongo, it’s a compliment

          • June 15th 2018 @ 2:39pm
            jacko said | June 15th 2018 @ 2:39pm | ! Report

            But he desperately WANTS to be offended Piru

        • Roar Guru

          June 15th 2018 @ 4:02pm
          Timbo (L) said | June 15th 2018 @ 4:02pm | ! Report

          If my mindset is to have a chuckle and poke fun at how we can use language, sure.

          Neil used it as metaphor. Deal with it.

          If he wished Poey got it, then that would be a completely different conversation.

      • June 15th 2018 @ 3:25pm
        jameswm said | June 15th 2018 @ 3:25pm | ! Report

        Cancer on the other team, not a cancer on the game. They mean completely different things.

        • Roar Guru

          June 15th 2018 @ 4:04pm
          Timbo (L) said | June 15th 2018 @ 4:04pm | ! Report

          Fair Cop,
          I used some artistic license to give Poey credit for the terrific job I think he does..

    • June 14th 2018 @ 7:40pm
      Highlander said | June 14th 2018 @ 7:40pm | ! Report

      Hey moderators, time to let one through to the keeper

      What a Dickhead!

      • June 16th 2018 @ 9:38am
        Mapu said | June 16th 2018 @ 9:38am | ! Report

        haha,well pushed

    • June 14th 2018 @ 9:32pm
      Will said | June 14th 2018 @ 9:32pm | ! Report

      Neil Francis is kidding himself.
      Pocock was impeded illegally throughout the game last week, he was unlucky not to have 20 turn overs. All over them.
      And the Irish invented slowing down the ball at the breakdown. That’s before you even get to the neck rolls and head locks patented by SOB.

    • June 14th 2018 @ 11:05pm
      MH01 said | June 14th 2018 @ 11:05pm | ! Report

      Bad mistake Cheika . Should have let that one through to the wicket keeper. Now this clown Neil has publicity, as all the news stories are about Cheika slamming Neil.

      These are the kind of stories that you reply with “no comment” . And let social media etc deal with it . There should be plenty of people with an opinion on this dumb comment .

      • June 15th 2018 @ 7:13am
        Daveski said | June 15th 2018 @ 7:13am | ! Report

        Yeah nah MH01. In the biggest Saturday night of sport this year in Australia, rugby needs a little vaudeville to get some media space.

        Cheika rightly called out a comment that was stupid, insensitive and not particularly correct in the modern game where so many attacking raids flow from turnovers.

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