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Elsom hopeful of playing against 'Boks

By Adrian Warren 15/08/2008 05:10:23 PM Comments (0)

Flanker Rocky Elsom still rates himself a chance of playing for the Wallabies in next week's Tri-Nations match against South Africa.

The 28-man squad for the Test in Durban on August 23 and Johannesburg on August 30, left Sydney on Friday.

Elsom, who missed Australia's last Tri-Nations fixture against New Zealand with strained foot ligaments, was also expected to be on the sidelines in Durban.

Earlier this week, Wallabies coach Robbie Deans thought it was unlikely Elsom and fullback Adam Ashley-Cooper (broken hand) would be available for the first Test in South Africa.

Blindside flanker Elsom said he hadn't been able to do any training because of the injury but expected to start running after the team arrived in South Africa.

"I'd like to play in the first one, I think it's still a possibility, but I haven't run yet," Elsom said at Sydney Airport.

"I don't think contact work will be an issue it's just whether it swells up or I can actually run properly, that's the big one."

Stand-in halfback Sam Cordingley is convinced his paucity of playing time this season won't hinder him should he get the call up to face the Springboks.

The Queensland veteran is vying with Waratahs halfback Brett Sheehan to fill the vacancy created by a knee injury to Luke Burgess, who will miss both South African Tests.

Cordingley came on for Burgess in Australia's first four Tests of the season, but played only a total of 28 minutes and didn't appear in either of their two most recent games against New Zealand.

While Sheehan hasn't played a single minute of Test rugby this year, he has accumulated more match fitness through a regular diet of club football.

Cordingley said while he hadn't played much club rugby this year he had supplemented his meagre rations of Test time by playing in an Australian Barbarians match last month and was adamant his shortage of game time wasn't an issue.

"It's one of those things I've been used to for a long time now, playing off the bench," said Cordingley who was long serving captain George Gregan's understudy at last year's World Cup.

"I've been ready for Test football for the last eight weeks, so if the opportunity was going to come up earlier on, I would've been ready, and I'm ready this week."

Cordingley, whose Test career will effectively end when he joins French club Grenoble, was keen to rack up as many Test appearances as possible over the next few months.

Burgess could also miss the final Tri-Nations match against New Zealand in Brisbane next month, while Cordingley's Wallabies swan song could come on the end of year tour to Europe.

Having missed plenty of rugby last year with a foot injury and most of the second half of this season's Super campaign with another foot problem, Cordingley was philosophical about having the chance to replace the stricken Burgess.

"Everyone suffers their fair share of injuries, I've not been excluded from that, but it's one of those things and he (Burgess) will be back at some stage," Cordingley said.

"The opportunity is there for myself to press for another start. To try and play out the Tri-Nations in a number nine jersey is something I would love to do.

"Particularly being my last season with the Wallabies, it would be a great way to finish off."

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