Brumbies back-rower David Pocock retires from Super Rugby
CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Wallabies back-rower David Pocock says he still hopes to play at the World Cup this year after announcing his retirement from Super Rugby.
The 31-year-old Pocock has played only 138 minutes over three matches for the ACT Brumbies in Super Rugby this season because of a succession of injuries, most recently a serious calf muscle strain.
He met with Wallabies and Brumbies medical staff last week and agreed that missing the remainder of Super Rugby might give him the best chance of playing at the World Cup in September in Japan.
“If I was realistically a chance to get back for the Brumbies I’d be pushing to get back but I don’t think that’s realistic,” Pocock said.
“It’s been frustrating. You’re putting pressure on yourself to get back out there, you want to be contributing and after talking to (Brumbies coach) Dan (McKellar) I think the best thing is to take the pressure off and actually get it right.”
Pocock is due to leave Australia after the world tournament for Japanese club the Panasonic Wild Knight on a one-year deal. The 77-test veteran is expected to retire from all rugby when that contract ends.
“The Brumbies have given me a home for the last seven years,” Pocock said. “They’ve supported me through injury and given me the opportunity to work on my game and my leadership as part of an incredible group of men.
“After 13 years of professional rugby, I’m looking forward to the challenges the rest of this year holds and also thinking about what comes next.”
Pocock said he has been told by specialists his current injury is a rare one and it is difficult to determine how long it might take to heal.
He remains hopeful of playing at the World Cup from late September.
“A few times I’ve got back to 70 or 80 per cent and thought I was pretty close.
“You’re doing everything you can and you’re obviously aiming for (the World Cup) and that’s driving you,” he said. “To pull on the Wallabies jersey again is my goal.
“I’ll be doing everything I can to get myself right.”
Pocock is regarded as one of the best back-rowers in world rugby, though he has faced an almost constant battle with injuries in recent years. He has appeared in only 43 of the 100 matches the Brumbies have played since he joined them from the Western Force in 2012.
The Brumbies are atop the Australia Super Rugby conference with three matches remaining in the regular season, and are on track to appear in the playoffs for the first time since 2017.