Infotainment Factory: Forgotten shame of David Pocock's career

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Wednesday, 29 May 2019

Forgotten shame of David Pocock's career


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Former Wallaby Peter FitzSimons has paid tribute to the feats of retiring champion David Pocock but says Rugby Australia should regret its "mismanagement" of the star flanker's career.

Pocock will go down as one of the greatest Test players of his generation, with the specialist pilferer often playing almost a lone hand to keep the Wallabies in games against rugby's heavyweights in an era utterly dominated by the All Blacks.

However, FitzSimons says his career and the achievements of the Wallabies could have been even greater if not for RA's willingness to make unprecedented concessions to one of the game's most interesting characters.

Wallabies reveal World Cup jersey

Pocock famously took a fully paid gap year in 2017, spending six months in his native Zimbabwe and spending a short time studying at Harvard University.

He also had two separate stints in Japanese club rugby on lucrative deals, all while being paid an estimated $750,000 by Rugby Australia.

It's an allowance that polarised fans at the time and FitzSimons says hindsight makes it even more difficult to understand.

"There was madness at the ARU (Rugby Australia) level, first saying 'have a year's sabbatical, here's $750k', that was one. And then when he came back, and I've got to get my facts straight but in one of the off-seasons he comes back via Japan, hurts himself and came back to have an operation," FitzSimons told Wide World of Sports' 5 Minutes with Fitzy.

"And basically I think you'd find that for Rugby Australia's money, one loses count after $1.5 million, two or three million (dollars), there has not been a lot of production from Pocock."

That last statement is perhaps a little harsh on a player who has played 76 times for Australia and has been a crucial cog in two successful World Cup campaigns, with the Wallabies making the final in 2015 and the semi-final in 2011.

He can also add to his legacy later this year if he can overcome the calf injury that has ended his provincial career in time to take his place at a third World Cup.

However, there's no doubt that since taking his sabbatical Pocock has missed a lot of rugby.

Which is why FitzSimons laments what might have been.

"When they form up the queue of those admire David Pocock and we start in Penrith and we go to Perth you'll find me in Penrith, I am quite at the front of the queue, just behind his fine wife," FitzSimons said.

"And Pocock I say has been one of the great players and I wish he'd been a long-time Australian captain but in the end it's a sad end for him and I hope he turns up at the World Cup, we need him.

"But in the end I think he's been mismanaged at the top level."

Former Wallaby Peter FitzSimons has paid tribute to the feats of retiring champion David Pocock but says Rugby Australia should regret its "mismanagement" of the star flanker's career.

Pocock will go down as one of the greatest Test players of his generation, with the specialist pilferer often playing almost a lone hand to keep the Wallabies in games against rugby's heavyweights in an era utterly dominated by the All Blacks.

However, FitzSimons says his career and the achievements of the Wallabies could have been even greater if not for RA's willingness to make unprecedented concessions to one of the game's most interesting characters.

Wallabies reveal World Cup jersey

Pocock famously took a fully paid gap year in 2017, spending six months in his native Zimbabwe and spending a short time studying at Harvard University.

He also had two separate stints in Japanese club rugby on lucrative deals, all while being paid an estimated $750,000 by Rugby Australia.

It's an allowance that polarised fans at the time and FitzSimons says hindsight makes it even more difficult to understand.

"There was madness at the ARU (Rugby Australia) level, first saying 'have a year's sabbatical, here's $750k', that was one. And then when he came back, and I've got to get my facts straight but in one of the off-seasons he comes back via Japan, hurts himself and came back to have an operation," FitzSimons told Wide World of Sports' 5 Minutes with Fitzy.

"And basically I think you'd find that for Rugby Australia's money, one loses count after $1.5 million, two or three million (dollars), there has not been a lot of production from Pocock."

That last statement is perhaps a little harsh on a player who has played 76 times for Australia and has been a crucial cog in two successful World Cup campaigns, with the Wallabies making the final in 2015 and the semi-final in 2011.

He can also add to his legacy later this year if he can overcome the calf injury that has ended his provincial career in time to take his place at a third World Cup.

However, there's no doubt that since taking his sabbatical Pocock has missed a lot of rugby.

Which is why FitzSimons laments what might have been.

"When they form up the queue of those admire David Pocock and we start in Penrith and we go to Perth you'll find me in Penrith, I am quite at the front of the queue, just behind his fine wife," FitzSimons said.

"And Pocock I say has been one of the great players and I wish he'd been a long-time Australian captain but in the end it's a sad end for him and I hope he turns up at the World Cup, we need him.

"But in the end I think he's been mismanaged at the top level."

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