Kyle Mackey-Laws August 04, 2012
Brumbies recruit David Pocock. Photo: Getty Images
He's pro carbon tax, has made a personal stand in support of gay marriage and he's formed a charity to address the political injustice in his country of origin, Zimbabwe.
But David Pocock, lauded as the biggest signing in ACT Brumbies history, hasn't formed an opinion yet on the team's chances next season
''I don't know,'' Pocock told The Canberra Times this week.
''It's a bit hard for me to say having not been part of the group and not knowing the dynamics, but I was impressed this year with their progress and their commitment.
''I think the fact that the majority of the group has signed on for two or three years, it's a very good sign. There's a whole heap of young people at the club coming through - the exciting thing is to see the guys' improvement in one season and to know that, well, add a couple more seasons and it could be looking pretty good.''
At 24, he's already played seven seasons of Super Rugby, become captain of the Wallabies, and is widely acknowledged as one of the world's best openside flankers.
But Pocock is a far cry from the cliched ''meathead'' of Australian football - the boozing, expletive-laden, tweet-centric players across Australian rules, rugby league and rugby union.
He is refreshing. And inspiring.
The Brumbies have signed not only a super-talented footballer, but an intelligent and likeable person.
Appearing on the ABC's Q&A on Monday night, Pocock - Western Australia's Young Australian of the Year in 2012 - was pressed on his political beliefs.
He has made an ad supporting action on climate change, and has also taken a stand on gay marriage - he and his partner Emma Palandri choosing not to marry until gays too had the opportunity.
''When we started talking about getting married, you know, we have got friends who are in loving, committed, monogamous relationships but don't have the opportunity to get married and so we decided that until they have that opportunity, we wouldn't,'' Pocock said on Q&A. ''It is a personal decision and I really think the debate about equal rights in marriage, it really has to move forward and can't be used as a political football.''
Pocock did not want to elaborate on his comments made on Q&A when interviewed for this piece, but did admit to being surprised at the response from the show.
''It has been surprising - it's been an overwhelming positive,'' he said.
''Obviously there is the usual few very negative emails or whatever but on the whole it's been pretty positive.''
Despite being forced out of Zimbabwe when the Mugabe regime took over the family farm in 2002, the embattled country has never been far from Pocock's thoughts.
It prompted him to establish a charity - Eightytwenty Vision - with friend Luke O'Keefe in an effort to assist communities in Zimbabwe in becoming self sufficient.
''I try and get back once a year … I've still got a bit of family back there to see so the time is spent between getting out into the community and spending some time there, seeing how things are going and then just hanging out with my cousins and grandfather.''
Having the opportunity to play rugby under Brumbies coach Jake White convinced Pocock to leave the Force, turning down advances from the Melbourne Rebels before signing a three-year deal with the ACT franchise.
He admits to not knowing Canberra very well, doesn't have a clue where he's going to live and is even a little hazy on some of the players within the Brumbies squad, but he is familiar with one former Brumby in particular.
George Smith, the Brumbies and Wallabies legend who is still considered the benchmark for Australian openside flankers.
But any comparisons to Smith would fall on deaf ears, Pocock said.
''I've played against George since 2007, and then played with him at the Wallabies in 2008, 2009, 2010.
''Any comparison to George is flattering - growing up he was one of my heroes.
''… To play with and against him was a great thrill for me, so I think as far as the Brumbies, he obviously played with them in very different circumstances. He started at the Brumbies and finished with them where I'm moving there in my eighth season of Super Rugby.''