Pocock hits back after Brumbies say 'no' to campaigning

·2-min read
Mick Tsikas/AAP PHOTOS

Former Wallabies captain David Pocock says he would be shocked if Rugby Australia doesn't endorse the 'yes' campaign before the Indigenous Voice referendum, rubbishing claims that politics shouldn't play a part in sport.

Reports suggest RA has been pressured by their Super Rugby Pacific clubs to not take a formal position on the voice, with ACT Brumbies chairman Matthew Nobbs saying his board has unanimously agreed not to back either side of the debate.

The NRL and Australian Olympic Committee have announced they support the voice to parliament, and the AFL is expected to follow suit.

Cricket Australia and Netball Australia are still formulating a position.

Former Brumby Pocock, now an independent senator for the ACT and a supporter of the voice, said suggestions that sport didn't have a hand to play in social issues ignored history.

"Given RA's leadership on tackling homophobia, being the first football code to have an inclusion policy, then their support of marriage equality, I'd be very surprised if they don't support the voice," Pocock told AAP.

"Players and fans have loved including a Welcome to Country before Test matches and playing in the Wallabies' Indigenous jersey.

"There's a long history of sport playing a role in social change, a history of sport having an active role in these conversations and challenging society to think about issues.

"The Uluru Statement from the Heart is a generous offer to all Australians that I'd encourage everyone to read and learn more about.

"We have an opportunity to take up that offer in the referendum and move forward together as a country."

The 78-cap Wallaby was responding to Nobbs, who said earlier on Tuesday he would encourage RA not to take any position.

"It was agreed unanimously by our board that we don't think politics should play a part in sport and it's an individual's preference," Nobbs told the Nine newspapers.

"There's no way in the world that we would muzzle our players.

"They will be free to express themselves as they wish, but we do not believe it is the Brumbies' role to support a position."

Pocock never shied away from a political stance in his playing days.

An environmental activist, he chained himself to a digger at a coal mine in 2014. 

And Pocock and his wife didn't marry until same-sex unions were legal in Australia.

In 2015 Pocock famously called out a Waratahs opponent for using homophobic slurs in a match against the Brumbies.