Before he turns climate crusader, retiring great David Pocock says he’d be only too happy to offer his opinion on the next Wallabies coach.
While gutted to have bowed out of international rugby with Saturday’s 40-16 loss to England in the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals, Pocock is adamant he won’t be adding to his 83 Tests in the gold jumper, declaring his battered body has had enough after more than a decade at the top level.
“It certainly takes its toll. You pick up injuries along the way and some of them linger longer than others,” Pocock said.
“I feel like I’ve put a huge amount into rugby in Australia and I’ve got a lot back in return and really feel like it’s time to move on to other things and contribute in other ways.”
The avid conservationist and human rights campaigner isn’t ruling out a future in politics after formally hanging up the boots following the last season of his three-year stint with Wild Knights in Japan.
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“I’m interested in a bunch of things outside rugby. The political landscape at the moment is fairly uninspiring when it comes to climate change and those sorts of things, so we’ll wait and see,” he said.
“I’ll have a bit of time to think about it now, then I’ve got the six months in Japan. After that we’ll see. For me, issues around climate change, ecological crisis … there’s plenty to do. I’ll find something and get stuck in.”
Pocock, who has a Bachelor of Ecological Agricultural Systems degree to his credit, admits he’ll miss “parts” of professional rugby.
“There’s something really special about being part of a group that’s so focused on something bigger than themselves, but I’ll be looking to find that elsewhere,” he said.
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) October 22, 2019
The champion flanker remains fiercely loyal to Michael Cheika, one of his key allies who signed off on his controversial year-long sabbatical from the game in 2017, and wasn’t impressed by former schoolmate and Wallabies teammate Quade Cooper’s parting shot at the coach.
“If he actually cared about Aus rugby he would have done it a while ago,” Cooper tweeted after Cheika quit his post on Sunday.
“As players I think we always find it disappointing when people on the outside are taking pot shots,” Pocock said.
“There is a huge amount of work that’s gone in and ‘Cheik’ is the kind of guy who goes into bat for his players behind the scenes.
“He is always wanting guys to just focus on their rugby and you can’t please everyone. Everyone has different opinions.
“I have a huge amount of time for Quade. We go way back. But people are going to say what they want, especially when you fall short like we did.
“There is no excuses. We prepared well. We just weren’t good enough on the night.”
Pocock wouldn’t be drawn on who Cheika’s successor should be, but said he’d offer input on the matter if asked.
“Mate as a player, you’re happy to. You’re always happy to give your thoughts and opinions,” he said.
“That’s just a little part of the bigger picture of the strategy going forward and how things are going to look in terms of the structure of coaching in Australia.”
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