Rugby World Cup 2019: Wallabies coach Michael Cheika hints at refereeing conspiracy to target David Pocock

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has been left stunned but what he says was a "severe" focus by match officials on the breakdown work of David Pocock during Australia's Rugby World Cup win over Fiji.

Cheika said he was astonished listening to the in-game communication between Kiwi referee Ben O'Keeffe and his assistants, accusing them of singling out the veteran flanker on reputation.

Having forged a career on turning over tackle ball, Pocock wasn't allowed to make an impact there during the 39-21 win, Cheika said.

"The stuff on the ground, I'm not quite sure what's going on, but the team of three were talking about David Pocock from the first minute of the game," he said.

"I'm not sure what he's done, but there was some severe focus on him. I heard his name mentioned between them on the commentary at least half a dozen times in their own chat when he hadn't even been involved in the ruck.

"He's been out all year. I don't what he's done, but there is a severe focus on him. His name is being called all the time.

"So I was a little bit surprised by that."

Pocock played down Cheika's thoughts, saying only that he would review the game and see if there was anything he could do differently.

It was the 31-year-old's first 80-minute performance since March, when he suffered a calf injury which had ruled him out of rugby for six months.

"You're not thinking about that stuff out there. We'll have a look at the review and see. I'll leave that speculation to you guys," he said.

"Generally refs are doing a really good job. As long as there are clear communication and consistency, as a player, that's all you can ask for."

Cheika said the attitude of the officials wouldn't affect his approach to selection for next week's game against Wales, where he must decide whether to persist with the twin openside mix of captain Michael Hooper and Pocock.

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