29 Oct 2015

Pocock a tough nut but Wallabies a threat all over

12:10 pm on 29 October 2015

Loose forward David Pocock has grabbed the headlines with his World Cup displays but the All Blacks hooker Keven Mealamu says Australia pose a threat all over the pitch.

The Wallabies loose forward David Pocock.

The Wallabies loose forward David Pocock. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

New Zealand face their Bledisloe Cup rivals in Sunday morning's final hoping to become the first team to crowned back-to-back champions.

Pocock has arguably been Australia's player of the tournament so far, stealing 14 turnovers, five more than any other player, in leading a formidable Wallaby loose forward trio.

Mealamu says the All Blacks can't afford to focus on an individual player.

"It certainly doesn't get any easier for us and they will pose a lot of questions. A lot of the talk has been about David Pocock and we understand he is a threat, but there are so many other parts of the game to concentrate on," Mealamu said.

"There are other strengths that are just as important and that we will have to be ready for."

The 36-year-old World Cup winner will play his 132nd and final test for the All Blacks and although he will start on the bench with Dane Coles now first choice, Mealamu is relishing bowing out in another final.

Keven Mealamu, pictured in 2014.

Keven Mealamu Photo: PHOTOSPORT

He says he and the other five All Blacks veterans who'll close out their international careers on Sunday are doing their best not to focus on their impending retirement.

"Now I am close to that goal. I am just really pleased to be in this position and to have the chance to do this again."

"It's a time to reflect when we get there. Obviously that time is coming but we can look back on it and look at those times when we get there. While we're here in finals week this is where our mind is and this is what we're concentrating on."

Mealamu hailed the impact of Wayne Smith on the team since he re-joined the All Blacks as defence coach this year having left the New Zealand set-up after the 2011 triumph.

"It's been good having Wayne Smith back in the camp and he's been a big influence," Mealamu said.

"He's been able to put some good systems in place. There's also been a really good attitude from the players and everybody has really nailed their roles, but it's just been really good having old Smithy back."

- Reuters

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