A Newportonian will run out today for his first cap for Canada when they take on Argentina and there is an even stronger link with our club. Fullback Carl Pocock is the son of former backrow forward Andy Pocock who starred for Newport in the 1980’s. Andy played 165 games for Newport scoring 54 tries. A great record. He was a member of the Newport team that played New Zealand in 1989 and had a famous altercation with Wayne ‘Buck’ Shelford.
Andy emigrated in 2004 to Calgary with his wife Melanie and his two youngest children Joshua and Jessica. Carl and older brother Jon remained in Wales as they were both in University. Carl studied at UWCN in Cardiff. Not surprisingly rugby was always in Carl’s blood. He played for Newport HSOB from the age of 5 and when he left school he played up at Cross Keys for a couple of seasons. Carl then emigrated to join the family in Calgary.
Andy was heavily involved in rugby in Canada where he was head coach of Calgary Rams from 2004 to 2008. He was also head coach Calgary Mavericks in the Canada Super league, making the
national finals in 2008, losing out to The Rock of Newfoundland (Rod Snows team). He was then invited to coach Canada East as forwards coach in IRB NA 4 for 2 seasons and also was the ‘Canada Select’ forwards coach for a match against English Counties.
When the Canadian national team headed to the UK in 2010 Andy was a guest coach in preparation for matches against Wales and Scotland. Andy took a couple of years out of rugby to build his own house but was back with Calgary Hornets for the 2012/13 with two of his sons in the team. They went on to be provincial champions for two consecutive seasons.
In 2014 Andy returned to Calgary Rams along with sons Jon and Carl as the club were on verge of folding. They were in division 3 and could not raise a team. The Pococks turned the club fortunes around and they were 2014 Division 2 league and city champions and then 2015 Division 2 league, city and provincial champions going through the season undefeated. A fantastic achievement.
The club now runs three teams and has a men's membership of 120 players. Carl has been captain and backs coach for a while and tonight will become the first ever international player from Calgary Rams in their history.
The youngest of the three Pocock brothers also plays in the backs for Calgary, the irony of which is not lost on Dad Andy considering he was such a great forward.
It is a fantastic rugby story and one which everyone associated with Newport RFC is delighted to hear. Good luck to Carl tonight and let’s hope that Andy continues to coach the players of the future in Canada for many years to come.