Wallabies backrower David Pocock says he never wanted to leave Australian Rugby, after signing a three-year deal with the ARU and Brumbies this week.
Pocock will take a year off top level Rugby in 2017 for study and personal development and said that unusual detail was the only thing that kept his negotiations from being a swifter process.
“I think from the start I was really keen to stay,” he said.
“It’s a little bit unusual having some time off next year so I guess that’s why it took a bit longer, (it) was just to try and get all those details down and sort it out.”
Pocock has been the subject of a myriad reports, linked to French and English clubs, but said he was still unsure exactly what 2017 would hold.
“There’s been a bunch of things thrown out there but none of them are true that I’ve heard so we’ll wait and see.
“That’ll be the exciting thing just getting away, freshening up and hopefully coming back physically and mentally good to go.”
The 27-year-old said the decision was one made with a longer-term view, and a third Rugby World Cup berth, in mind.
“This is my 11th season of professional Rugby and I want to continue but I feel like a little bit of a break will be good for the mind and good for the body and probably good for the soul too,” he said.
“I think being back involved in that Wallabies environment (last year), the players and the coaching staff and the support we’ve got, you just want to be part of it more.
“That was a huge part of wanting to sign on for the next World Cup and hopefully give myself a chance to be fit and selected for that.”
As for his club of choice, Pocock wanted to repay the faith shown by the Brumbies through two injury-cruelled years.
“It was a tough couple of years and they really stood by me and I got a lot of support,” he said.
“I still really enjoyed it and I feel like that’s where I want to play my Rugby.
Pocock had one of the best seasons of his career in 2015 and Brumbies coach Stephen Larkham said his mere presence injected confidence into the team.
“He had two years out of the game and then last year got the opportunity to come back into Super Rugby and did a pretty good job there and then just excelled at the next level, particularly through the World Cup,” he said.
“There were periods there as coaches if we didn’t have Poey on the field you were pretty nervous but when you had him on the field you pretty much knew we were going to win the game.”