Rugby Union

David Pocock considers 12 months off as ARU, ACT Brumbies prepare massive offer

The ARU is prepared to offer David Pocock one of the biggest contracts in Australian rugby history and work with the star flanker to give him a year away from the sport to ensure he stays in the game for the 2019 World Cup.

Pocock is weighing up his future just weeks out from the start of his Super Rugby season with the ACT Brumbies.

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Fairfax Media understands Pocock is keen to finalise a deal before the Brumbies begin their campaign against the Wellington Hurricanes on February 26.

However, the complexities of a potential flexible contract could see negotiations continue well into the year as the Wallabies' linchpin considers whether to take a year off rugby.

In demand: The ACT Brumbies are trying to work on a deal to keep David Pocock in Canberra.
In demand: The ACT Brumbies are trying to work on a deal to keep David Pocock in Canberra. Photo: Jamila Toderas

​Brumbies coach Stephen Larkham and chief executive Michael Jones have met with Pocock to discuss his future, while Wallabies mentor Michael Cheika has also been in Canberra to try to lock away a deal.

French, English and Japanese clubs have launched bold bids to try to lure Pocock away on massive deals that dwarf the earning potentials at a Super Rugby franchise.

But the ARU has come to the party to match the financial rewards and is set to make Pocock one of Australia's highest paid players, alongside cross-code superstar Israel Folau.

One option the ARU is working with Pocock on is to allow him to take 12 months off rugby in 2017 to rejuvenate and refresh a decade after starting his career with the Western Force.

The Brumbies' No. 1 preference would be to keep Pocock for the entirety of his contract through to the 2019 World Cup on a three-year deal to stay in the capital.

But losing Pocock for one season before having him back on the books in 2018 and 2019 would be better than losing him all together as the Brumbies try to maintain their standing near the top of the Australian conference.

If Pocock was to leave at the end of the season with intentions to return, the Brumbies would need a temporary plan to replace him for a year.

The other alternative would be to plan long term and then risk losing Pocock in future seasons.

The Brumbies, ARU and Pocock's management have been locked in negotiations to come up with a suitable deal for all parties, with several options being tabled and considered.

Brumbies captain Stephen Moore will join the Queensland Reds next year while Matt Toomua has signed a deal with Leicester in England.

Moore's co-captain Christian Lealiifano has re-signed with the club, while Scott Sio is the next re-signing target in Canberra.

Pocock is set to play his first game after his World Cup heroics when the Brumbies clash against the Reds in a pre-season trial on Friday night.

The Brumbies lost their opening trial to the NSW Waratahs, but Larkham will roll out his big guns, including Pocock, Reds-bound  Moore, Lealiifano and Scott Sio in the last hit out before the regular season begins.

Pocock was the Wallabies' best player at the World Cup at the end of last year, confirming his standing as one of the premier flankers in world rugby.

He forced Cheika to change his forward pack selections to pick both he and Michael Hooper in the starting side, and reaffirmed his value to the Wallabies after two years out with knee injuries.

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