Earmarked … David Pocock is heading to Canberra. Photo: Getty Images
DAVID POCOCK could not have known it at the time, but four years ago Jake White earmarked the breakaway as a player he had to coach.
Pocock was a bright-eyed 20-year-old relishing his third season at the Western Force. On Saturday, White finally got his man. That chance meeting between the World Cup-winning Springboks coach and Pocock was the catalyst for the Brumbies' biggest signing since … well, since ever.
"He didn't put any pressure on me and made it easy in the end. And that was definitely a big part of my decision," Pocock said.
''Jake has obviously made some changes at the Brumbies, and everyone I've spoken to has enjoyed themselves this year. I'm pretty excited to be playing for him now."
Pocock signed a three-year deal with the ACT side on Saturday after months of deliberation. "There's the coaching team with Jake, Laurie Fisher, Stephen Larkham, Tony Thorpe and then guys like George Gregan helping out - it's a very appealing set-up for a player," Pocock said. "And it's a young group of guys who are not only committed, but have signed on for the next couple of years. Everyone is there for the right reasons and to stick to Jake's long-term plan. That's pretty exciting for me."
Pocock spent seven seasons at the Force, through the Firepower debacle, John Mitchell's demise and consequent departures of Matt Giteau, Drew Mitchell and James O'Connor.
The exit of Richard Graham to the Reds mid-season, and Nathan Sharpe's retirement, signalled the death knell. And when the Force failed to lure Michael Cheika for next year, Pocock felt he had little choice. "That [not being able to lure Wallabies and a head coach] was one of a number of things that helped me make my mind up,'' he said. ''Every player wants to win a Super Rugby title, and while the Brumbies know there is a still a lot of hard work to do, they showed in one year the potential there is."
Meanwhile, several Queensland Reds players have been named in a 36-man Wallabies squad for a training camp in Sydney this week. The Reds missed the first camp in Sydney last week after qualifying for the Super Rugby finals. Those cut from the original squad are Rebels centre Mitch Inman, Waratahs backs Lachie Turner and Bernard Foley and prop Paddy Ryan, Brumbies captain Ben Mowen and Rebels second-rower Hugh Pyle.