Zimbabwe-born flanker David Poc' />

A rising Australian rugby star has been banned from playing Super 14 for the Western Force because he's too young.

Zimbabwe-born flanker David Pocock, 17, isn't in coach John Mitchell's playing squad of 28 for tomorrow's pre-season match against the Blues in Auckland after an Australian Rugby Union (ARU) ruling that no one under 18 can play senior rugby.

That is despite being highly rated by the Force after starring on the Australian schoolboys tour of Europe last year.

"We advised them he couldn't play," an ARU spokesman told Sydney's Daily Telegraph.

"It's an (International Rugby Board) regulation and is ARU board policy. There's a bit of paper that says they can't do it."

Pocock won't be eligible until his 18th birthday on April 23, three weeks before the end of the Super 14.

The Force are already under investigation for playing the 1.81m, 99kg flanker for 20 minutes in a trial match against South Africa's Cheetahs last weekend.

An ARU spokesman said an investigation was under way and there was a chance the Force could be fined.

Pocock, who emigrated from Zimbabwe with his family in 2002, could not see the sense in the ruling.

"I loved every minute of it," Pocock said. "When I was on the field I didn't feel intimidated at all. If you're good enough, you're old enough.

"(Chief executive) Peter (O'Meara) and John Mitchell made it clear it was up to me if I wanted to play, and I was keen.

"It's just disappointing I won't have the chance to push for a (Super 14) spot this year. But I'll get stuck into training and prepare myself for next season."

- NZPA