Pocock lines up Lions scalp
Pocock lines up Lions scalpSHARE
Wallabies star David Pocock knows that he will only get one chance to play the British and Irish Lions, and he wants to make the most of it.
The abrasive openside flank wasn't even in Australia the last time the Lions went Down Under but he is desperate to play his part in next year's tour.
Pocock was still living in Zimbabwe in 2001, as Graham Henry's Lions side fell to a 2-1 series defeat, before emigrating to Australia the following year.
"I wasn't living in Australia for the last tour," Pocock told The Rugby Paper. "I was watching it in Zimbabwe so I was pretty neutral and I didn't really mind who won back then.
"I remember Jason Robinson coming across from league and he was electric every time he got the ball – that was a real highlight," he added.
Pocock acknowledged that a Lions tour is a rare opportunity which not all international rugby players get to experience, and reflected on the fact that recently-retired veteran Nathan Sharpe never got to lock horns with them.
"The excitement is already really building among the rugby public. As a player it's something you want to be fit, prepared and hopefully selected for because there are a lot of others who don't get the opportunity.
"Nathan Sharpe debuted in 2002, just after the Lions tour, and has now hung up his boots. It was a pretty amazing career – the second highest number of Test caps but he doesn't get to play the Lions.
"You have to stay fit, play well through the Super Rugby season and be ready for selection.
"You only have one crack at the Lions so it makes it very special and we have to be ready," he said.
Australia have endured a turbulent year after being hit by extensive injuries but Pocock reckons the Wallabies will benefit from the experience.
"As a group we can take a lot of confidence from the recent tour," added Pocock.
"The important thing was we had a lot of guys, who had not played Test rugby before this year, who have now gone through a whole season.
"We have seen the likes of Sitaleki Timani, Michael Hooper and even Kurtley Beale moving to 10. It gives us a bit more depth but we know that the Lions coming out to Australia will be different beast," he said.