David Pocock (born 23 April 1988) is an Australian rugby union player. He is an openside flanker, vice captain of the Brumbies.
Early and personal life
Pocock grew up in Zimbabwe and migrated with his family to Brisbane, Australia in 2002.
He was educated at the Anglican Church Grammar School in Brisbane. In 2005, he played in the school’s undefeated premiership-winning 1st XV alongside future Wallabies teammate Quade Cooper. That same year, he was selected to play in the Australian Schoolboys national rugby union team, the highest level of schoolboy rugby in Australia.
In between the Force’s UK tour and the Wallabies 2008 Spring Tour he climbed Mt Kilimanjaro (the tallest mountain in Africa) with one of his friends, Morgan Clarke. At the end of 2010, he and his best friend Emma held a commitment ceremony before family and friends in Perth; they have pledged to refuse to enter into marriage until it is open to same-sex couples in Australia. David and his friend Luke O’Keefe run a not-for-profit organisation, Eightytwenty Vision, which has the aim of helping the less fortunate people of Zimbabwe.
In November 2014, Pocock was charged over a protest against a coal mine in New South Wales.
Pocock played for the Force, where he made his debut in 2006 against the Sharks in Durban. Pocock made appearances for Australian Schoolboys and Australia A in the 2007 IRB Pacific Nations Cup, earning man of the match multiple times in the tournament. He then made his Australian debut as a substitute against The Barbarians on 3 December 2008.
Pocock made his Wallabies debut in Hong Kong in late 2008, and then played against Italy and The Barbarians on the Wallabies spring tour. That same year he also captained the Australian Under 20s at the Junior World Championships in Wales, and was then awarded the Emirates Western Force captaincy for the development tour of England.
In 2009 Pocock played 13 Super Rugby games and was again called up to the Wallabies Squad. The year 2009 was a breakthrough year, during which he featured in 13 of the 14 Tests played by Australia – including a man of the match effort in the drawn Test against Ireland at Croke Park, as well as a maiden Test try during the 33–12 win over Wales at Cardiff. Pocock had earlier started the year by scoring his first try for his adopted country during the 55–7 win over the Barbarians in a non-cap match in Sydney. As a credit to his improving performance in the game Pocock replaced longstanding Wallaby openside flanker George Smith, late in the 2009 Tri-Nations. In the Wales test in the 2009 Autumn Internationals, he put his thumb back into its socket after it had been dislocated and continued to play.He was, however, substituted at half-time and replaced by George Smith.
In 2010, Pocock became the first choice openside flanker for the Wallabies. He won the John Eales Medal in 2010 – the highest honour in Australian Rugby. Pocock was recognized at an international level after being nominated alongside five other players for 2010 IRB Player of the Year, an award given to the best player in world rugby. In addition he was recognised with the Australia’s Choice Wallaby of the Year and awarded the Rugby Union Players Association (RUPA) Medal of Excellence.
In both 2010 and 2011, Pocock was a finalist for the IRB International Player of the Year.
Pocock took over the Wallabies captaincy during the 2012 midseason test series when regular captain James Horwill was injured.
At the conclusion of the 2012 Super Rugby season, he left the Western Force to join the ACT Brumbies.
In 2013, he underwent a knee reconstruction, and Michael Hooper became the Wallabies first choice number 7.
In 2014, in the course of his third game back after knee reconstruction, he damaged his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and had another knee reconstruction in late March 2014. On 15 January 2015, Pocock, along with teammate Nic White, were appointed vice-captains of the Brumbies for the 2015 Super Rugby season.
On 23 September 2015, Pocock scored two tries in Australia’s opening game of the 2015 Rugby World Cup, a 28–13 win against Fiji at the Millennium Stadium., as well as also scoring a try in a defeat to the 2015 Rugby World Cup Final the New Zealand All Blacks.
Pocock signed a three-year deal with the Panasonic Wild Knights of Japan’s Top League in May 2016. The deal, agreed on in negotiations that also involved the Australian Rugby Union, is structured so that he will remain eligible to play for Australia in the 2019 Rugby World Cup. He will play the 2016–17 Japanese season with the Wild Knights. Upon the end of that season in February 2017, Pocock will take a six-month sabbatical from all rugby before returning to the Wild Knights for the 2017–18 season. Immediately after the end of that season, he will return to Australia to play for the Brumbies in the 2018 and 2019 Super Rugby seasons, skipping the 2018–19 Japanese season. Following the 2019 World Cup, Pocock will complete his Japanese contract in 2019–20.
David is concerned about climate change and the damage to the environment from human activities. He has publicly expressed his views on these issues and has taken part in action. Most notably, he visited the Leard Blockade against the expansion of the Maules Creek mine in the Leard State Forest and was arrested for taking part in a nonviolent protest.
Pocock is also one of the most visible campaigners in professional sports in Australia against homophobia, actively taking a stand both on and off the field.
Alongside this, he has been a public advocate in the campaign for marriage equality in Australia and has been a guest on the ABC’s panel show Q&A passionately debating opposition to legalising gay marriage. Although he and partner Emma Palandri held a ‘wedding’ ceremony in 2010, they have refused to sign the legal documents binding their marriage in law until their gay friends are able to do the same.
Super Rugby statistics
- As of 22 July 2016