Open Side: David Pocock

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

Upon announcing his year-long sabbatical, David Pocock immediately set his sights on returning to where he feels most comfortable - among wildlife.

Pocock and his partner, Emma, touched down in Johannesburg during the early part of the year off and immediately visited the Wild Ark team.

Wild Ark's mission is: to secure parts of identified green belts around the world to protect the rich biodiversity of these areas as a way of conserving wildlife while creating research and experience opportunities for people to reconnect with nature and the become inspired to protect it.

That's a cause the Pocock's feel passionate about.

"When we landed in Joburg we went and spent a week with the Wild Ark team and their hospitality was amazing," Pocock said on episode two of Open Side.

"We felt very welcome and it was a good little time to see what they were doing and catch up."

Mark Hutchinson, founder of Wild Ark, shared his thoughts on Pocock, the conservationist.

"I only really knew Dave as the rugby player but when I met him a couple of years ago I saw this complete other side to him," Hutchinson said.There's quite a contrast between Pocock the player and Pocock the conservationist. Photo: Getty Images"He's a very humble but fiercely passionate conservationist that really sits close to the surface, actually.

"To see him burst out of his skin when he got here - dancing around on the game truck and birdwatching - he's a mad keen "birder".

"Emma as well - she's just as passionate about the mission and the cause.

"I think it's quite a contrast between the hard man you see on the field versus this very, very dedicated conservationist on the inside

The second episode of ‘Open Side’ is available on now, with episode three airing on Sunday February 25.