Wallabies flanker David Pocock will take on England on Saturday in his last game for Australia for at least the next 18 months.
The Brumbies backrower will begin his year long sabbatical from Australian Rugby on Sunday as part of an expensive experiment by the Australian Rugby Union that will look to ensure that the Wallabies top performers are enthused and energised, and are not broken down by the rigors and demands of international rugby.
Earlier this year Pocock signed a three-year, $4 million contract with the ARU that would keep the dynamic openside on Australian shores until the conclusion of the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
The three-year deal is actually really a two-year deal that would see Pocock only play the 2018 and 2019 seasons. The 2017 season will see the Zimbabwean take a 12 month sabbatical for personal development and study, with Pocock believed to be interested in studying at Cambridge or Oxford, similar to former Wallabies teammate Dan Vickerman who captained Cambridge to a 2009 Varsity match win over Oxford while studying Land Economy at Hughes Hall.
The bulk of Pocock’s three-year deal will be paid during the 2018 and 2019 seasons, however next season, it’s understood that the 28-year-old will still be paid handsomely during his break.
According to WaToday, in the sabbatical year he will take home in the region of $750,000 for three, one-hour meet and greets with individuals of the ARU’s choosing.
He will play some rugby, having signed a second, lucrative three-season deal with Japanese Top League club Panasonic Wild Knights, but will return to the Brumbies and Wallabies for the 2018 season.
Pocock will join the Wild Knights later this month and according to rugby journalist Tom Decent, will head to South Africa at the end of January with the view that he would spend time in his native Zimbabwe until the end of August.
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