Pocock hits back at Quade’s Cheika ‘potshot’
DAVID Pocock has expressed disappointment as Quade Cooper's "pot-shot" at Michael Cheika, with several players coming to the defence of the departing Wallabies coach.
Cheika is receiving significant criticism after the Wallabies were knocked out of the World Cup quarter-finals by England, and after announcing he will step down he took aim at Rugby Australia chief executive Raelene Castle and chairman Cameron Clyne, revealing he had dysfunctional relationships with them.
Cooper tweeted about Cheika after he resigned, writing: "If he actually cared about Aus rugby he would have done it a while ago".
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After the Wallabies returned from Japan at Sydney Airport on Tuesday morning, Pocock said: "As players we always find it disappointing when people on the outside are taking potshots, because there's a huge amount of work that's gone in and Cheik's the kind of guy who goes in to bat for his players.
"Behind the scenes, he's always wanting guys to be able to just focus on their rugby.
"You can't please everyone. Everyone's got different opinions - I've got a huge amount of time for Quade, we go way back.
"People are going to say what they want, especially when you fall short like we did.
"There's no excuses, we've just got to cop it on the chin, we weren't good enough on the night."
Wallabies captain Michael Hooper bristled when asked about Cooper's comment.
"Not giving it any air," Hooper said.
Cheika walked out of the airport terminal as Hooper was speaking to reporters, however was bailed up by camera crews.
If he actually cared about Aus rugby he would have done it a while ago..— Quade Cooper (@QuadeCooper) October 20, 2019
He said it wasn't for him to decide if Castle should remain as RA chief executive, but did prefer his replacement as coach to be an Australian - Kiwi Dave Rennie is the likely successor.
Pocock and Hooper said they were unaware of the ructions between Cheika, Castle and Clyne and it did not affect their Cup campaign.
"In the wash-up there's so much talk about CEO-coach relationship, all that stuff, they were certainly very good at hiding that from the players," Pocock said.
The first reaction to truth is hatred. Turtullian— Quade Cooper (@QuadeCooper) October 21, 2019
"From our perspective, we prepared as best we could."
Hooper added: "Relationships aren't always straightforward, but whatever they did they kept it pretty well hidden, so from us players that pretty good credit to keep that away from us, we had a job to do and they didn't put that in front of our face."
Both Castle and Clyne are under intense scrutiny in the wake of Australia's worst World Cup result in 12 years.