RWC 2011: Pocock flattered by 'better than McCaw' tag
Story and Photo: www.rugbyworldcup.com
AUCKLAND, 8 Sept. - Australia's David Pocock could barely contain his pride when informed by journalists on Thursday that one of his childhood rugby heroes had labelled him the world's best flanker.
The bold declaration that Pocock has surpassed New Zealand captain Richie McCaw, 30, as the best flanker in the world arose from an unlikely source - former All Blacks back row Josh Kronfeld.
In an interview with UK newspaper The Times, Kronfeld described the 23-year-old Wallaby as a "master" of the openside position.
"It's great coming from a bloke like Josh Kronfeld. He was a legend," Pocock said.
"I remember watching him when I would have been at primary school, with his headgear."
Kronfeld, 40, who forged a reputation as a fearless All Blacks flanker during the 1990s, donned distinctive black-and-white headgear throughout his 54-cap international career.
Pocock said long hours of watching rugby on television as a child had left him in awe of Kronfeld's tenacity at the breakdown and persistent ability to sneak a try.
"He was one of those loosies (loose forwards) who always had it right because he'd follow the wingers, whether it be Jonah (Lomu) or whatever, and when they got tackled near the line they'd pop it up to him and he'd score the try."
When asked if he hoped to emulate the feats of his Kiwi admirer, Pocock was modest in his own self-assessment.
"He's a legend of the game. I think I've got a long way to go yet."