Pocock remembers his roots

Date published: October 30 2015

On the eve of the biggest match of his life, David Pocock has been humbled by the support he has received over his rugby playing years.

The Australian number eight, who is leading the tournament with 14 turnovers, will run on to the turf at Twickenham on Saturday in his first Rugby World Cup final.

However, being born in Gweru, Zimbabwe, his family made many sacrifices for him to get to this point.

"The sacrifices my family made, for Mum and Dad to move to Australia, if it wasn't about the kids they probably would have stayed there and tried to make a plan, and certainly never would have considered moving from Zimbabwe," said the 27-year-old.

"All the support I've had since then, from all sorts of coaches and people. That's one of the really humbling things, when you run out there with that jersey on, you're not doing it for yourself."

Pocock's connection with Zimbabwe remains strong, as he and a friend run a non-profit organisation, Eightytwenty Vision, that caters for the needy. They visit at least once a year.

"There's a lot of people in Zimbabwe who are cheering on the Wallabies at the moment and to me, that's pretty special," he added.

"Growing up outside a small town like Gweru – even in Zimbabwe we used to be looked down on as this sleepy little town – coming from a place like that, it's pretty special to represent people from there, who identify with there."

One of those supporters early in his rugby career was former Brumbies coach Laurie Fisher. His former coach believes Pocock's injury break – which included two knee reconstructions that saw him miss 24 months of rugby – has helped him return a better, fresher player.

"He's outstanding, he's probably better than what he was previously," quipped Fisher.

"He'd been in rugby for a long time and he'd really taken a battering, so as hard as it's been to have two years out of the game it's actually put him in unbelievable physical condition, and that's partly because it's a hard road to hoe."