Wallabies great Pocock retires from rugby

Pocock, who retired from international rugby after 83 Tests following the World Cup last year, has opted against seeing out the final year of his playing contract at Japanese side Panasonic Wild Knights

Last Updated: 23/10/20 8:22am

David Pocock played at three World Cups, reaching the final in 2019

David Pocock played at three World Cups, reaching the final in 2019

Former Australia captain David Pocock has announced his retirement from professional rugby after a 15-year career.

The 32-year-old, who retired from international rugby after 83 Tests following the World Cup last year, has opted against seeing out the final year of his playing contract at Japanese side Panasonic Wild Knights.

“While it was a tough decision, it really feels like the right one now and as a lot of former athletes talk about, it’s not going to be smooth sailing but it’s going to be a great challenge,” Pocock told Rugby Australia.

The Zimbabwe-born openside flanker, who made his debut for the Wallabies in 2008 and played at his first Rugby World Cup in 2011, was widely considered one of the best players in his position.

Pocock was appointed captain in 2012 to succeed an injured James Horwill but suffered the first of several serious knee injuries in 2013.

He was then often forced to play as No 8 after he was replaced as the Wallabies first-choice number seven by current captain Michael Hooper, with the influential pair pivotal behind their run to the World Cup final in 2015.

Michael Hooper (L) and Pocock (R) proved a formidable double act for the Wallabies

Michael Hooper (L) and Pocock (R) proved a formidable double act for the Wallabies

Michael Hooper (L) and Pocock (R) proved a formidable double act for the Wallabies

“Probably not,” Pocock said, responding to whether he achieved what he wanted as a rugby player.

“As a kid you dream of winning, winning the World Cup – but that didn’t happen. But that’s life. You’ve got to make peace with that and try take all the learnings out of it. That’s the real challenge is when you do fall short, learning from it and then moving on and trying to do things better next time.”

Pocock, who made his professional debut 15 years ago at the Western Force and also played at the Canberra-based ACT Brumbies in Super Rugby before finishing up in Japan, plans to devote his time to his conservation projects and the grassroots game in Australia and Zimbabwe.