Pocock keeping mum on contract talks
Star Wallabies flanker David Pocock will put his Super Rugby contract talks on the backburner as he attempts to settle the ship at the Western Force.
The Force were left reeling last week when coach Richard Graham announced he would be jumping ship to link up with Queensland Reds next season.
Graham initially wanted to see out the season with the Force, but player power led to his swift departure.
Pocock is out of contract at season's end, and the Force have made it their top priority to re-sign the star 24-year-old.
Brumbies coach Jake White has already expressed interest in luring the Force skipper to Canberra, while the other Australian franchises are sure to cobble together their own enticing offers.
Pocock is keen to keep any negotiations behind closed doors, and said his immediate focus was on helping the Force through a tumultuous off-field period.
"I guess with my personal contract stuff I've put that on the backburner for the moment and really focusing on the club," Pocock said ahead of Saturday night's clash with the Stormers in Perth.
"I've put it to the side until we can get things back on track as a playing group. There's been a bit of uncertainty with Richard leaving and the assistant coaches stepping up into the role and filling the gap.
"It's obviously been a tough few weeks for the club.
"You don't have too much control over your coach getting out of his contract mid-season.
"I don't think anyone saw it coming.
"So how we respond to that is really important. The group's really committed to finishing the season well."
The Force will consult Pocock over player recruitment for next season, while the 40-Test veteran will also be kept in the loop about coaching candidates.
Force chief executive Vern Reid said he had received about 25 coaching applications already, and the club expects more once the European season finishes.
But as it stands, assistant coach Phil Blake will lead a five-man coaching team for the remainder of the season, with Pocock and veteran lock Nathan Sharpe also part of the panel.
The Force are yet to reach the finals since entering the competition in 2006, and again look set to miss out on the business end of the season after cobbling together just two wins from eight games.
Pocock admitted the club had underachieved over the journey, but was confident a bright future lay ahead.
"Everyone's pretty committed to making it work and I've got full confidence in Vern and the senior management that they'll recruit well for next year and we'll have a really good coach going forward," he said.
Force winger Napolioni Nalaga will bolster the club's backline stocks against the Stormers after finally recovering from an ankle injury.
But the Force face an uphill task to topple the second-placed Stormers, who have posted seven wins from eight games.
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