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    Pocock sticks with Brumbies

    2016-03-16 07:29

    Sydney - Star Australian backrower David Pocock is staying with the Brumbies and the Wallabies until at least the next World Cup, his club said on Wednesday, but he will take 2017 off to study.

    The No 8, who recovered from two knee reconstructions in two years to play a leading role for Australia at the last World Cup, will return to Australia ahead of the 2018 Super rugby season.

    "I'm excited to commit to Australian rugby until the end of 2019," he said, according to the Brumbies website.

    "I really appreciate the willingness the ARU and Brumbies have shown in allowing me to weigh up my desire to be available for selection leading into the next World Cup against my longevity in the game and pursuing interests outside the sport."

    His old Australian Rugby Union contract expires on December 31 and the governing body feared losing Pocock after a host of top players have taken-up lucrative overseas contracts in recent times.

    "I believe that after 11 seasons of professional rugby, having a year away from the sport will help increase my years in the game I love," the 27-year-old said.

    "It will also give me the opportunity to do a bit more study and pursue interests outside of rugby."

    He did not say where he would study next year but media reports have suggested England.

    Brumbies head coach Stephen Larkham praised the deal that keeps Pocock with the club in the run up to the 2019 World Cup in Japan.

    "David is a marquee player and one of the best in the world, if not the best in the world in his position," Larkham said.

    "We've seen over the past 12 months just how valuable he is to the Brumbies and Wallabies both on and off the field.

    "He has been with the Brumbies since 2013 and has fought through the toughest parts of his career with this club.

    "He's certainly respected by all the players and certainly respected by all the coaches as well."

    Boss of the breakdown, Pocock's immense value to Australia was never more apparent than at the World Cup where he was the Wallabies standout player in the run to the final and ultimate defeat to the All Blacks.

    Pocock made his Wallaby debut in 2008, captaining the side in 2012 and has now earned 55 Test caps.

    An overseas contract makes Australian players ineligible to play for the national team unless they already have more than 60 caps and have held a professional contract with Australian rugby for at least seven years.

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