David Pocock has committed to Australian rugby until the 2019 Rugby World Cup, but will take a year off in 2017 to study overseas.
Pocock will pursue his university aspirations next year, and return to the Brumbies and Wallabies in 2018.
It has long been speculated Pocock would miss the 2017 season due to his desire to study, and initial resistance to that idea from the Brumbies seems to have passed, with both the ARU and the franchise agreeing to release the flanker.
Pocock said it would extend his career in Australian rugby as well as develop him as a person.
“I’m excited to commit to Australian Rugby until the end of 2019. 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.”
Wallabies Coach Michael Cheika said he didn’t doubt Pocock’s commitment to the jersey.
“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.”
Australian Rugby Union CEO, Bill Pulver, praised Pocock’s contribution at Wallabies level, and said the goal was a World Cup win in 2019.
“Over the past 12 months David has proven he is among the top handful of players in the world and was arguably the player of the tournament at the Rugby World Cup.
“David has made it clear that he intends to remain in Australian Rugby long-term and has deep aspirations to achieve the ultimate success with the Wallabies in years to come.
“We also acknowledge that David is keen to build on his education and experiences outside of Rugby and he has our full support in his endeavors off the field. We wish him well for his short period out of the game.
“First and foremost we know how hungry David is for the challenges ahead including his current campaign with the Brumbies, three Tests at home against England, followed by The Rugby Championship and a Grand Slam Tour with the Wallabies.”