Pocock fighting to be fit for World Cup as he announces Super Rugby retirement

David Pocock's Super Rugby career is over effective immediately, the world's best openside flanker declaring: "It's time to finish in Australia, this is it".

Pocock will announce his Australian domestic rugby retirement on Tuesday morning after it was decided to rule him out for the rest of the Super Rugby season.

The 31-year-old, however, still hopes he can recover from a torn calf in time to play for the Wallabies at the World Cup after being limited to just three games in the past seven months.

Pocock has playing commitments in Japan after the World Cup, but it is likely he will use the tournament as an international swan song and retire fully when his Panasonic Wild Knights deal ends.


Pocock met with Brumbies and Wallabies medical staff last week to decide the best action for recovery. All parties agreed it was best to make the World Cup a priority to avoid being a distraction for the Brumbies' charge to the finals.

"It's the tough call, but it's the right call," Pocock said. "Often the right call is the harder one to make. It gives us all a bit of clarity going forward … Everyone has been talking to each other trying to come up with a plan to get back [on the field].


"I think it's starting to sink in [I won't play again for the Brumbies]. But it's been so good to watch how well the Brumbies have been going and the hard work pay off, I'm so proud of what the group's been doing.

"To not be a part of that is very disappointing, but I'll keep contributing and doing what I can to help out."

Pocock will now train in Canberra with the sole purpose of being fit for the Wallabies.

"The goal is to get to the World Cup, I'll be doing absolutely everything I can to get there," he said.

His on-field absence is a cruel blow for the Brumbies, who are trying to force their way back into the finals by winning their remaining three games of the regular season.

It's also a frustrating and brutal way for Pocock to finish his injury-plagued tenure in Canberra after leaving the Western Force to join the Brumbies at the end of 2012.

Pocock has played just 43 of 100 games since becoming arguably the biggest recruit in the franchise's history. He had two knee reconstructions in 2013 and 2014, ruling him out for those entire seasons.

Pocock hasn't played a game since he felt a strain in his calf on March 8 after initially tearing the muscle at a Wallabies pre-season camp in January.

He will finish his Super Rugby career after 112 games, while he still has a chance to add to his 77 Test caps for Australia.

Pocock made his Super Rugby debut as a teenager in 2006 and was picked for his first Wallabies Test in 2008, forging a career as one of the best on-ballers in world rugby.

His presence off the field was just as influential, leading conversations for social change by campaigning for action on climate change and same-sex marriage.

Rugby was always one of his passions, but the game has taken a massive toll on his body in recent years after being targeted by opponents trying to curb his impact at the breakdown.

The main concern going into this year was his neck, but the pre-season injury has had a far greater impact in forcing Pocock to call time on his playing days.

He considered playing on given his minimal game time this year, but decided this season should be his last.

The Wallabies, however, are keen for Pocock to leave the door ajar for 2020 and beyond given he will be eligible for selection even if he is playing abroad.

"But I think this is it. I haven't put anything in stone, but I think that's it," Pocock said. "I feel like I've put a lot into my rugby, I've got a huge amount out of it and I'm very grateful for the opportunities I've had.


"But there's plenty of other stuff out there to do, and it's time to start stepping into whatever that's going to be.

"There's some excitement about the future … it's also pretty scary in other ways. Like every professional athlete who gets to the end, there are a lot of unknowns. It's all about seeing what opportunities are out there and going for it."

Pocock thanked the Brumbies and the club's fans for sticking by him even when he was unable to play.

"The Brumbies have given me a home for the last seven years. 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," Pocock said. "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.

"The Brumbies and all supporters have been very good to me since my move to Canberra in 2013. I am grateful for their support."

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