Farm life gives Pocock different look at leadership
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Australian rugby will be boosted by David Pocock's return both on and off the field in 2018.
Pocock returned to Canberra last month after ending a year-long sabbatical from Australian rugby duties.
The 29-year-old went through a leadership course in the USA and was among the leaders at Panasonic Wild Knights in the Japanese season.
Pocock was also in Zimbabwe running his grandfather's farm, which gave him a different perspective on leadership.
"It was certainly an experience working on a farm where you're, people are looking to you for direction and you're managing 20 staff every day, that was a steep learning curve," he said in an interview on rugbycom.au.
"In Japan, just different ways of trying to include and empower people outside of the leadership group because ultimately in rugby everyone’s a leader in some way.
"It's getting guys to recognize that and actually take it on and grow in their contribution at the right time.
"Different environments but hopefully it will translate."
Pocock admitted that his sabbatical was a gamble.
"I don’t think it’s for everyone and it’s definitely a risk," he said.
"We’ll see if it pays off."
Wallabies captain Michael Hooper also believes the next generation of Wallabies will benefit from Pocock's leadership.
"Off the field his personality type, his attention to detail, he treats his body like a temple," said Hooper.
"These little things are great for some of the younger players to see and have him mentor and be a really good leader around that just by doing the things he's doing.
"So, I think it's fantastic to see a guy of his professionalism , experience and good nature back in the team."
Pocock's absence opened the door for others to get an opportunity for the Wallabies and Hooper believes that was one of the positives coming from his back-row partner's sabbatical
"We got to see Jack Dempsey (debut) and the growing of Sean McMahon in the Aussie jersey," Hooper said.
"It's a double-edged sword isn't it and those guys can add so much more experience and push each other more.
"While he was away, it was good that you get to breed and blood other players."
With the depth in the Australian set-up, Pocock knows he will have to work hard to earn a place in Michael Cheika's side.
"Guys are playing well," he said.
"When you look at the back row, how much depth there is there, it's always going to be a challenge [to win that spot], so that's going to be exciting."
Cheika added: "There's a few young backrowers this year who are going to have a bit to say I think.
"Some who have been on the fringe of our team and some who haven't been involved at all that are going to have a bit to say about the back row before we just give the jerseys out."
Pocock is set to return to action in April after he underwent knee surgery in January.