Super Rugby
Pocock quits Force to join Brumbies
ESPN Staff
July 28, 2012
Australia's David Pocock fights to control the ball, Australia v Wales, Dockland's Stadium, Melbourne, Australia, June 16, 2012
Pocock lead the Wallabies against Wales this summer © Getty Images
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Australia flanker David Pocock will leave the Western Force at the end of the 2012 Super Rugby season, with the Wallaby set to join the Brumbies.

The Western Force confirmed on Saturday that Pocock will be leaving the Super Rugby franchise despite their best efforts to keep the player. The Forces' inability to secure big-name players and challenge for the end of season play-offs are the primary reasons for Pocock's decision to move on.

The 24-year-old, who is widely regarded as one of the best openside flankers in world rugby, has agreed a deal to join the Brumbies, according to The Australian.

Pocock, who lead the Wallabies against Scotland and Wales this year in the absence of the injured James Horwill, made his Super Rugby debut for the Western Force as a teenager against the Sharks in 2006 but the Super Rugby franchise have yet to reach the end of season play-offs - a potential source of frustration for the 44-cap Wallaby. The Brumbies finished just outside the play-offs this season but they appear to be a team on the rise under new head coach Jake White.

The defection of Pocock to the Brumbies will be another blow for the Force after Australia scrum-half Will Genia decided not join the Super Rugby franchise from the Reds and coach Richard Graham resigned in April after accepting an offer to join the Reds with both Michael Cheika and Michael Foley rejecting the chance to replace him.

"It is with considerable regret that RugbyWA has learnt of David Pocock's decision to leave," the Force said in a statement. "David has been a highly-valued member of the squad since joining the club as part of its foundation squad for the 2006 season.

"In his time with us he has risen from a junior player to Western Force Captain to Wallaby Captain and we are proud that we have given him our full support for him to achieve this remarkable place in Australian rugby.

"For the past six months, RugbyWA has done everything within its power to retain his services as a leading player within the Western Force.

"David's concerns were principally around the club's inability to recruit high-profile players with this challenge highlighted by the recent opportunity presented to Will Genia which ultimately was unsuccessful in bringing him to WA. This difficulty has since been acknowledged by the Australian Rugby Union in their provision of further concessions for the Western Force regarding international players for the 2013 season and beyond.

"While we are disappointed with his decision, we wish David well. RugbyWA has done everything to develop and support David throughout his time with the Emirates Western Force. This has included his development over 69 Super Rugby matches with the club, fast-tracking his appointment as captain of the side for 2012 and supporting his charity, Eightytwenty Vision.

"In recent times, since the departure of Richard Graham, David has been part of the board and management process in recruiting players and identifying the next Western Force head coach.

"Despite David's announcement, the Western Force continues its preparations for the 2013 FxPro Super Rugby season. We will continue to boast one of the best forward packs in the competition, including excellent back row coverage through Test players Ben McCalman, Richard Brown and Matt Hodgson, and outstanding young players Angus Cotterill and Lachie McCaffrey.

"In the modern rugby landscape, player movements are much more commonplace, leaving the door open for a return to their original club. David will always have a special place at the Emirates Western Force and should the opportunity arise down the track for him to return, we would welcome him back with open arms."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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