Wallabies back-rower David Pocock has announced that he will retire from international rugby after the World Cup in Japan this winter.
The flanker has been plagued by injuries and his final appearance on home soil this weekend will be his first in a gold jersey in 2019.
Pocock will leave an incredible legacy on the game as one the architects of modern back-row play. He will see out the final year of his contract with the Panasonic Wild Knights in Japan after the World Cup.
— Wallabies (@wallabies) September 6, 2019
“I feel like it’s time to move onto other things and contribute in other areas,” Pocock told reporters ahead of this weekend's game with Manu Samoa.
“On a personal note you reflect on the time you’ve had in a Wallabies jersey, what you’ve tried to add, the legacy you hope you’ll leave and then just the opportunity to play in front of family and friends one last time. That’s all great but it comes down to the team effort really. That’s been the focus for the guys, we know if we don't have a good team performance it won’t be as special.
The Zimbabwe-born back-row referenced his heritage as he spoke to the press.“As an immigrant, rugby has provided me with somewhere to make friends, to feel like I belong and obviously huge opportunities to play professional rugby at the Force, Brumbies and Wallabies.
“I’m not done just yet, there will be plenty of time to reflect on it. Very much wanting to get back out there and get back to my best rugby and contribute over the next couple of months."
Pocock made his senior debut in 2008 when still captain of the Australia under-20 side, but 2009 was his breakthrough year. Ireland fans got to witness his emergence in the flesh when he put in a man of the match performance in the 20-20 draw at Croke Park in that year's November internationals.
Gerry Thornley was effusive in his praise for the flanker that day. "Pilferer-in-chief was David Pocock. His razor-sharp body positioning, strength and elasticity were a textbook lesson in the openside arts for any aspiring No 7."
Injuries took their toll and Pocock had full knee reconstruction in 2013 and then suffered another knee injury on his return in 2014. His cap total tells its own story, in 11 Super Rugby seasons he has made only 99 appearances in total while lining out 76 times for the Wallabies since 2008.
Pocock will go down as one of the great flankers of his generation albeit in one of the lesser Australian national teams.