Wallaby flanker David Pocock says Jake White was one of the major factors behind his move to the Brumbies.
Pocock swapped the Force for their Australian rivals this week ashis long-drawn-out contract saga finally came to an end.
The star openside, who is expected to pose one of the biggest barriers to the Lions’ hopes of series success next summer, will join up with South Africa’s World Cup winning coach in Canberra as the Brumbies look to bounce back from missing out on the Australian Conference title on the very last day of the regular Super 15 season.
And while the man who captained his country in the summer Tests against Wales and Scotland admits a whole host of reasons drew him to the capital, he admits White’s standing in the game was a huge influence.
“I met Jake in 2008 when we were both speaking at a function before the Wallabies played in Perth,” said Pocock.
“I wasn’t in the squad at that stage but me and Jake got on well. While we haven’t had a great lot of contact, obviously we’ve crossed paths and we’ve had a couple of conversations this year.
“He didn’t put any pressure on me and made it easy in the end.
“And that was definitely a big part of my decision. Jake has obviously made some changes at the Brumbies and everyone I’ve spoken to has enjoyed themselves this year. I’m pretty excited to be playing for him now.”
With White in charge and the likes of Wallaby greats George Gregan and Stephen Larkham also involved behind the scenes, Pocock believes the Brumbies provide the best platform for him to improve as a player.
The 24-year-old has only previously played for an under-achieving outfit, with his final year at the Force resulting in just three wins in a frustrating Super 15 campaign.
His old team’s failure to lure international stars to Perth or stop their best players from leaving was a definite worry for Pocock who is now targeting glory with a Brumbies side that showed plenty of potential last term.
“The Brumbies have done so well getting so many players into the Wallabies squad when so many people didn’t give the side a chance at the start of the season,” added Pocock after agreeing a three-year deal.
“There’s the coaching team with Jake, Laurie Fisher, Stephen Larkham, Tony Thorpe and then guys like George Gregan helping out – it’s a very appealing set-up for a player.
“And it’s a young group of guys who are not only committed, but have signed on for the next couple of years. Everyone is there for the right reasons and to stick to Jake’s long-term plan. That’s pretty exciting for me. And it’s a great way to challenge myself as a player.
“Every player wants to win a Super Rugby title and while the Brumbies know there is a still a lot of hard work to do, they showed in one year the potential there is. There’s plenty of improvement to go but they’ve got that in them.”