Former Wallabies captain David Pocock admits links between sport and war makes him "a little bit uncomfortable" as the ACT Brumbies prepare to play a Super Rugby grand final re-match on Anzac Day.
Pocock will miss the Brumbies' Anzac Day match against New Zealand's Waikato Chiefs as he continues his recovery from a knee reconstruction.
Speaking at the Australian War Memorial for the arrival of the Soldier On charity remembrance bike ride on Thursday, Pocock said the link between sport and Anzac day was a delicate balancing act.
Super Rugby, NRL and AFL will each play three Anzac Day matches.
"It's an important day for Australians. I'm loathe to compare anything sport wise with military language, I think it's a bit disrespectful for people who have put their lives on the line," Pocock said.
"I'm not playing, but I guess I'm a little bit uncomfortable when you put war and sport together. The important stuff for me are things like what Soldier On is doing.
"It's the soldiers who come back with missing limbs and psychological issues and that's sometimes forgotten.
"The big thing on Anzac Day for me is whilst it's good to remember the people who have died serving Australia, it's equally important to remember people who died fighting against Australia.
"You play sport on most other holidays ... I'm stoked the Brumbies are supporting Soldier On, the work they do is fantastic.
"But I'm very uncomfortable with military language people sometimes put into sport. You can't compare us going and throwing a rugby ball around to being on the front line."
The Brumbies will honour the Anzac tradition at Canberra Stadium before their game against the Chiefs.
The Last Post will be played and Corporal Mark Donaldson, one of four Victoria Cross recipients attending the Brumbies match, will read The Ode.
Super Rugby's governing body, SANZAR, has blocked plans to sing the Australian and New Zealand national anthems, but Brumbies supporter group the rUCkus crew plans to sing both anthems when the game begins.
Sapper Curtis McGrath presented the Brumbies with their game jerseys at training on Thursday.
McGrath, a combat engineer who has been serving for eight years, lost both of his legs when he stepped on an Improvised Explosive Device while serving in Afghanistan in August 2012.
It took him 10 days to learn to walk with prosthetic legs and he spent three months in hospital and he is still in the Army.
"I told my story to the [Brumbies players]. If someone can get inspiration out of my story, that's great. It's about taking away what you like and if you feel inspired, then great," McGrath said.
"I think sport and Anzac Day is a good thing, a lot of people in an arena can remember the Anzac spirit for themselves.
"Super Rugby has Australian and New Zealand teams playing so it's perfect."
Some Brumbies players, including scrumhalf Nic White, will attend the Dawn Service at the Australian War Memorial on Friday morning before focusing on the clash against the Chiefs, which starts at 5.40pm.
Brumbies director of rugby Laurie Fisher hoped McGrath's story would help the players understand the sacrifices of the Australian Defence Forces.
"There are guys out there sacrificing themselves every day ... we just play 80 minutes of footy," Fisher said.
"It is inspirational to have an understanding of what people continue to do [for Australia].
"Anzac Day is a wonderful occasion in Australia these days. As each generation comes through I think there is more and more respect for people who have made sacrifices for the nation, we come together as a nation, respect the past and look forward to the future."
The story Fine line between Anzac Day and sport: David Pocock first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.