Wallabies get a boost: Elsom wins appeal - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Wallabies get a boost: Elsom wins appeal

By David Beniuk 28/08/2008 11:10:33 PM Comments (0)

The Wallabies have received a major boost ahead of their Tri Nations Test against South Africa in Johannesburg with rugged flanker Rocky Elsom successfully appealing his suspension for dangerous play.

Elsom will now be available for the Ellis Park match on Saturday after SANZAR officials ruled in favour of overturning a one-match ban for pulling down Springboks captain Victor Matfield in a lineout during last week's win in Durban.

The loose forward trained with the side on Thursday morning before joining a telephone hook-up to hear his appeal.

The delay in the original decision by New Zealander Nick Davidson QC and a further wait for the transcript of the judgement forced coach Robbie Deans to delay the naming of the side to take on the Springboks until late on Thursday.

Contingencies had been put in place for the two possible outcomes of the Elsom hearing.

Now that he has been cleared, Elsom will start in the No.6 jersey with Hugh McMeniman, who has bounced back from a stomach bug, replacing the injured Dan Vickerman at lock.

Elsewhere, Deans made several changes to the team that successfully broke an eight-year South African drought with last week's 27-15 victory.

Adam Ashley-Cooper has fully recovered from surgery on a fractured hand and returns to fullback with Drew Mitchell dropping back to the bench.

Timana Tahu will make his run-on Test debut replacing the injured Berrick Barnes at inside centre, while Phil Waugh will start at openside flanker and Tatafu Polota-Nau at hooker.

George Smith and Stephen Moore drop back to the bench.

The raft of changes reflects Deans' philosophy of building an interchangeable squad rather than focusing on a set starting 15.

Deans is keen to make use of the fresh legs and hunger for football in the likes of Waugh and Polota-Nau while working up a number of possible combinations in the side as it heads towards a showdown for the Tri-Nations tile with the All Blacks in Brisbane next month.

Johannesburg's 1,700m altitude and fatigue from last week's rugged encounter with the Boks were not considered important factors as Australia try to post back-to-back victories in South Africa for the first time since 1963.

Ashley-Cooper, who is yet to play a Test on the highveld, said his Super 14 experience in Jo'burg would help him deal with the ball flying a lot further when kicked.

"You allow the ball to fly an extra 15, 20 metres because it does fly a lot more at altitude," he said.

"And I suppose also just the running, the fitness aspect, it hurts the lungs a bit more.

"It's just that first 20 (minutes) but once you push through that first 20 you find your second wind."

Wallabies team: Adam Ashley-Cooper, Peter Hynes, Stirling Mortlock (capt), Timana Tahu, Lote Tuqiri, Matt Giteau, Sam Cordingley, Wycliff Palu, Phil Waugh, Rocky Elsom, Hugh McMeniman, James Horwill, Matt Dunning, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Benn Robinson. Res: Stephen Moore, Al Baxter, Dean Mumm, George Smith, Brett Sheehan, Ryan Cross, Drew Mitchell.

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