New Zealand not making special plans for David Pocock

Published: Wednesday 28th October 2015 by The News Editor

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New Zealand continue to insist they cannot afford to hatch a plan to nullify turnover king David Pocock in Saturday’s World Cup final against Australia.

Wallabies number eight Pocock leads the World Cup breakdown statistics with 14 turnovers from just four matches, and along with Michael Hooper will bid to spoil the All Blacks’ attacking platform at Twickenham.

Zimbabwe-born Pocock has thrived in tandem with Hooper, Australia boss Michael Cheika pairing the two natural groundhog ball stealers in the same back-row.

Veteran All Blacks hooker Mealamu remains adamant however that New Zealand cannot plot a path to glory if they spend too much time trying to single out one opponent for special treatment.

“We understand he’s a good player, but there are so many parts of the game that if we concentrate on one we’ll end up not doing anything else,” said Mealamu.

“We understand he’s a big part of them but there’s plenty of strings to their bow that are just as important that we need to make sure we account for.

“It doesn’t get any easier for us.”

Pocock suffered two black eyes and a suspected broken nose in Australia’s 29-15 semi-final victory over Argentina last weekend.

The 27-year-old halted the Pumas’ charge at almost every turn; despite a hat-trick for Adam Ashley-Cooper, without Pocock’s influence the match could have unfolded very differently.

New Zealand know they must stop the in-form possession poacher, but have vowed not to stray from their customary approach.

The All Blacks would make history as the first side to retain the Webb Ellis Cup with victory on Saturday, while either winner will claim a record third World Cup triumph.

Fly-half Dan Carter will join Mealamu, Conrad Smith, Ma’a Nonu and Richie McCaw in retiring from Test rugby after Saturday’s showpiece clash.

McCaw will go down as the game’s greatest captain if he can lead the All Blacks to successive World Cup wins, while Carter is still itching to feature in his first global final.

A groin injury wrecked Carter’s 2011 tournament, with Stephen Donald drafted in from a fishing trip to steer New Zealand to 8-7 victory over France in the final.

Now the 33-year-old has the chance to sign off from a glittering Test career in style, and Mealamu believes he is ready to deliver.

“The way he’s playing now is testament to how hard he’s worked to get back,” said Mealamu.

“He’s enjoying his rugby, and when he’s in that mindset he plays to that level.

“It’s been great to see him just enjoy being a part of this, and being back to the form that we know and expect of him.

“We’re excited as he is to see him in great form.”

Published: Wednesday 28th October 2015 by The News Editor

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