Super Rugby

Pocock to take sabbatical in 2017

David Pocock will take a year out from rugby in 2017 to further his studies, despite signing a new deal with the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) and Brumbies until 2019.

Pocock played an integral role in Australia's run to the 2015 Rugby World Cup final but was reported to be considering a sabbatical from the sport when his original contract was set to expire in December.

The back-rower has now signed an agreement that will see him released from Australia and Brumbies duty in 2017 before returning for the 2018 Super Rugby season, a deal he believes will enable him to extend his career.

"I'm excited to commit to Australian Rugby until the end of 2019," Pocock said in a statement. " I really appreciate the willingness the ARU and Brumbies have shown in allowing me to weigh up my desire to be available for selection leading into the next World Cup against my longevity in the game and pursuing interests outside the sport

"I believe that after 11 seasons of professional rugby, having a year away from the sport will help increase my years in the game I love.

"It will also give me the opportunity to do a bit more study and pursue interests outside of rugby."

Australia head coach Michael Cheika added: "David's long-term commitment speaks volumes about his character and the values he brings to the game.

"For him to commit to the end of 2019 shows he truly believes in the direction the Wallabies are heading in and how passionate he is about performing at his highest level for Australia."