David Pocock needs to be protected from illegal neck rolls that have already forced him to miss key games for the Wallabies and is turning parents off the sport, according to his Brumbies coach Dan McKellar.


McKellar is calling on Super Rugby’s referees to come down hard on illegal neck twisting which left the flanker in serious pain for much of last season. It forced Pocock to miss Australia’s Rugby Championship clash against South Africa in Brisbane and the Test against England at Twickenham.

Ahead of the new Super Rugby season, McKellar highlighted his major concerns over one of Australia’s most important players and said: “I’m all for the game being tough and physical and played on the edge, but any action that’s not within the laws of the game needs to be acted on.

“It’s a tricky one for Pocock, because he’s so dominant as a poacher and he’s on every team’s tip-sheet each week. Him being cleaned out legally, compared to having his neck twisted is important.

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“It’s about player safety, it’s not about just David, either. The same applies to Michael Hooper at the Waratahs or Liam Wright at the Reds.”


While McKellar’s focus is on the Brumbies, he has serious concerns over the image of the sport when players such as Pocock are forced to take a break with serious injury. He is convinced rugby union will lose out when parents come to support their children’s sporting lives due to the threat of injury in the contact situation.

He explained to AAP: “You don’t want to see that action, because mums and dads are watching our game and we want their kids to aspire to play rugby, and those actions scare the mums off.

“I’m not saying these things are deliberate, more often that not they’re accidents but they need to be acted on.”

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