Brumbies coach Stephen Larkham says the club is prepared for every David Pocock possibility this season.
Larkham said he understood Pocock’s desire to get away from Rugby, with the flanker considering a one-year study sabbatical in England, before returning to Australia ahead of the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
“He had a really tough time with the Brumbies when he first got here, he had two knee reconstructions that took him out for two years,” he said.
“People probably think he had two years out of the game, why does he need another year out of the game?”
“Those two years were probably the hardest years of his life.
“He was very inspirational in the end.
“Very inspirational for team members, for staff for himself and the way that he got back and played at the end of the 2015 season was something that everyone was very proud of.
“He’s had three really tough years and he wants to play the next World Cup so I certainly understand the fact that he might want a little time away.”
Larkham said the Brumbies had gone over every possibility when discussing Pocock’s future.
“We’ve gone over a number of different iterations over there, whether he’s staying ,whether he’s going, if he’s going for one year, if he’s going for good all that sort of stuff,” he said.
“We’re still waiting on his final decision there but we’ve put some things in place and hopefully when he makes that decision things will fall into place for us.”
At a national level, Larkham said there were a handful of players who would be able to step up if Pocock did opt to take a year out.
“It’s going to be very difficult to replace David Pocock,” he said.
“There’s a number of guys who were itching to get their hands on the ball or an opportunity through that World Cup who will, if David’s not here, will certainly relish the opportunity.”
Pocock could possibly pass the 60-Test mark this season, allowing him to be eligible for Tests even if he is based overseas and European clubs have reportedly shown interest in the breakdown master.
Wallabies coach Michael Cheika said he hasn’t given up hope of keeping Pocock in Australia but was pleased with how negotiations had been handled.
“If I believe he’s going to go overseas, he’s going,” he said.
“The minute you start believing it, it’s happening.”
Cheika said he was not surprised that Pocock had reportedly been offered big cash contracts to play overseas.
“I think that they’d be mad if they didn’t,” he said.
“They’ve got heaps of cash and he’s one of the best players in the world, so if you add them up together and you’re going to get a big offer for a guy.”
While he will support any decision from Pocock,. Cheika admitted he would prefer to have the 27-year-old in the Wallabies colours as much as possible.
“I’d much rather him play for Australia,” he said.
“It's about the individual, having the individual characters in the team, not just churning out robots either.
“It’s got to have balance.
“He’s a guy who’s very rounded as it is and if he thinks that’s going to be better for him as a person and a player in the long run, then then I’m all for it.