Former Wallabies coach Robbie Deans says David Pocock is a better player after his year away from Australian rugby.
Former Wallabies coach Robbie Deans says David Pocock is a better player after his year away from Australian rugby.

Why Australia will benefit from Pocock gap year

FORMER Wallabies coach Robbie Deans has backed David Pocock to make a big impact in his return from a one-year sabbatical.

Deans had a first-hand look at Pocock in his playing comeback with the Panasonic Wild Knights during the recently-concluded Japanese Top League season.

What he saw convinced him the 29-year-old flanker will improve both Australia's Test team and the ACT Brumbies in Super Rugby.

"I think you'll be very excited the way Pocock comes back," Deans told reporters on Thursday ahead of the Brisbane Global Rugby Tens, which features his Panasonic side.

"I think he's going to be a key figure in Australian rugby over the next couple of years."

Robbie Deans and David Pocock hug one another after the Wallabies’ bronze medal win against Wales at the 2011 World Cup.
Robbie Deans and David Pocock hug one another after the Wallabies’ bronze medal win against Wales at the 2011 World Cup.


Deans, who coached Pocock during his six-year tenure at the helm of the Wallabies, said it was clear he needed a gap year and equally as clear that he put it to good use.

Pocock studied a leadership course at Harvard University, spent time at his grandfather's farm in Zimbabwe, visited family in Canada, walked with elephants and lions at the Mana Pools National Park and spent more time with his animal conservation campaigning efforts.

Once he linked up with the Wild Knights, he also worked on perhaps the one area of his game that was lacking - his link-up play.

That should be music to the ears of Michael Cheika, whose Wallabies side also made ground in that area during their Rugby Championship campaign.

"That's the way we play - lots of touches, we like to give blokes the opportunity to express themselves," Deans said.

"He's enjoyed that, he was great. He comes back a better player, refreshed.

"I think you'll see a formidable Brumbies team.

"They've got some ingredients there that will be powerful - Christian (Lealiifano) returning, the group's ready, they're hungry, new coach, David's coming back to make his sabbatical work.

"You'll always get difference of opinion on what's best but the bloke that knows best is the individual himself.

"He's chosen his path and he's not accustomed to failure. He'll want to make it work and I have no doubt he will."

Pocock's Super Rugby return won't come until at least round four after surgery on his right knee following his stint in Japan.



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