Pocock opens up on transformation

by Staff Writer

Rugby is just one part of David Pocock’s life but it hasn’t always felt that way for the Wallabies flanker.

Pocock chronicled his transformation from a self-admittedly selfish teen to an adult committed to social justice in the final part of Australian Story: True Grit on Monday night..

After his family fled from Zimbabwe, Pocock found psychological comfort in Rugby training, an element of life he was able to control.

Pocock said his aspiration of becoming a professional Rugby player was a way of justifying his disorder.

“I felt my eating and my training and all those things were something I could really control,” he said.

“I didn’t  have to deal with all this emotional stuff, I could just stay focused and control things,” he said.

I could justify it because I wanted to play professional Rugby, I wanted to play for the Wallabies.”

David’s gym was brought on family holidays and his younger brothers Steve and Mike would walk on tiptoes around their older brother.

A fixation on training helped him become a schoolboy star - bulking up from 78 - 95 kg in just one year ahead of his First XV year at Brisbane school Churchie, before the Force and the Wallabies came calling.

A desire to help people in Zimbabwe led to the establishment of his charity 80-20 vision with friend Luke O’Keefe, the beginning of a number of causes with which he is involved.

Two devastating knee injuries meant Pocock threw himself more into social activism, including protests against a Maules Creek coal mine.

For him, then Rugby became just one part of a multi-faceted life, that he hopes will help influence the next generation.

“The second rehab really gave me the chance to explore different parts of myself,” he said.

“I felt like making a personal stand against mining our food bowl and the implications on coal mining in a world where climate change is a reality were far more important than Rugby.

“If that was going to jeopardise playing for the Wallabies that was how it was going to be.”

He did return to Rugby and his status only grew in the 2015 World Cup, with Brumbies head coach and Wallabies attack Stephen Larkham emphasising Pocock’s influence.

“He went through a lot of pain to get to where we got to but it was inspirational to watch him do it.”

Defensively we felt that we were the best team in the world because we had David out there who would eventually steal the ball from the opposition.”

The 2015 World Cup final is a game Pocock admits he won’t soon forget, the end of an extraordinary run through the tournament.

Ultimately though he wants to be a rolemodel for the next generation for his off-field actions as much as his pilfering prowess.

“As a kid, I idolised rugby players, had my heroes and had posters on the wall,: he said.

“It was such a big thing for me.

“If I can get young people thinking about things they may not usually think about or issues they may not ever equate with someone who plays sport it’s a really good thing.

Catch up on Australian Story: True Grit Part 1 here.

Australian Story: True Grit Part 2 will be available to watch on ABC iView.

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