Former Wallabies flanker David Pocock has been hailed as one of the greatest players ever by fans across the world after announcing his retirement from all forms of rugby on Friday.
The 32-year-old had been chronicling his career in pictures on social media over the past week, so there was the sense that his retirement was impending. These photos dated back to 2005 where he signed for the Western Force after leaving school.
Having bowed out of the Test arena after the World Cup last year, Pocock, the 83-cap Wallabies back row, was playing in Japan for the Panasonic Wild Knights until the Top League season was abandoned in March due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
With this indefinite break, Pocock said on Instagram that it “feels like the right time to retire from rugby” before thanking those that helped him have the career he had. The response from the rugby world on social media was seismic, with the loose forward praised for his superiority at the breakdown.
In fact, it has been revealed by Opta that the Zimbabwe-born player has the most turnovers in World Cup history (34), and made more turnovers than any tier one player since his Test career began in 2008.
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) October 23, 2020
Having played across the back row during his career, he was often singled out as one of the great adversaries to All Blacks rival Richie McCaw. The former Western Force and Brumbies star was also a member of the dynasty of legendary opensides to play for Australia, receiving the No7 shirt from George Smith and handing it on to current captain Michael Hooper.
Given the injury-plagued career that he endured, Pocock’s retirement does not come as a surprise. Indeed, it was touch-and-go last year as to whether he would make the World Cup due to a long-term calf injury. But he was fortunate to end his Test career on his own terms, as he has done with his club career.
As much as he was eulogised for his credentials on the rugby field, Pocock is just as well known for his humanitarian work and he will now focus on conservation projects in retirement.
You are a legend David, one of the best rugby players in history but also a great leader and human who will continue to inspire millions – Thank you ?
— james Murphy (@jameskmurphy22) October 23, 2020
To be spoken of as the best open side in the world in the same era as Richie McCaw says it all… a true great of the game… maybe the best in the professional era to never win a World Cup… and an outstanding human being
— derek larkin (@dlark3) October 23, 2020
You are a legend. You changed the way the game was played over the ball and redefined what an openside was capable of. I have used you as an example to my son many times as a role model both on and off the pitch. Congratulations on a world class career.
— Jason O’Mara (@jason_omara) October 23, 2020
From a Springbok supporter: You were a thorn in our side on numerous occasions. But it was a joy to watch you play. Thanks for the great rugby memories.
— Johan Rheeder (@JohanRheeder7) October 23, 2020
Pocock will go down as one of the best ever. An absolute specimen of a man. The turnover king. When fit, one of the best in the world. Deserves to put the feet up. https://t.co/OXbDKfe69A
— Adam James (@AJHoward101) October 23, 2020
Yes we shouldn't put people on pedestals and there's no such thing as a perfect man, but… David Pocock is basically a perfect man, and even with significant injury problems was one of the best rugby players of the 2010s. Wish him well in his retirement. https://t.co/zk1TkU9bhM
— Eddie Clark (@Publicwrongs) October 23, 2020
Legend and one of the ?’s https://t.co/d1COMSK6sl
— Anton Patrick (@anton_white123) October 23, 2020
One of the best Australian rugby players ever, and an inspiring activist and leader. https://t.co/eiRwTJZKRO
— pöst-scött (@buzzandhum) October 23, 2020
One of the best players there's been and humans there is. Good luck in the future, David! https://t.co/mM5TpYiiwq
— Owen Rosser (@Rosseratron) October 23, 2020
Legend of the game – up there with McCaw, Smith, Jones, Pienaar as one of the best flankers ever. RWC 2015 Pocock was unstoppable, if he was first to the breakdown, he was coming away with the ball. ? https://t.co/EZdTs184JB
— Edward James (@edwardjames98) October 23, 2020
Best player at the turnover I have ever seen! Once he got locked on ball there was no shifting him. Unreal player ?????? https://t.co/3rPdnJ7vi4
— Stuart Simpson* (@stusimps91) October 23, 2020
There's a good argument to say that he's the best openside of his generation and that's saying something because we've been watching some tremendous players and that position over the past 15 years or so. https://t.co/W8dD6ZBCeW
— The Broccosaxodile (@awright_neebs) October 23, 2020
One of the best backrowers the game has seen.. great player! https://t.co/39zMICqiup
— NippyK10 (@nippy1111) October 23, 2020
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