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Waratahs top of Elsom's list: Hickey

By Darren Walton 03/04/2009 05:33:36 PM Comments (0)

NSW coach Chris Hickey is confident star flanker Rocky Elsom will re-sign with the Waratahs when - and if - he returns to Australia following his playing stint with Leinster.

The Australian Rugby Union last year granted Elsom a release from his ARU contract, citing unspecified compassionate grounds, freeing up the 40-Test forward to take up a one-season deal with Leinster.

Although the Irish club is now desperate to retain the 26-year-old, Wallabies coach Robbie Deans and ARU bosses John O'Neill and David Nucifora remain hopeful of luring Elsom back for the 2009 Tri Nations tournament.

Deans, O'Neill and Nucifora met with Elsom this week while in London for an ELVs summit.

Should Elsom - who is intent on playing for Australia at the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand - opt to resume his Super 14 career next season, it is likely there will be a tug-of-war for his services between the states.

There was speculation last month that the Reds were eager for Elsom - a product of Brisbane's esteemed rugby nursery Nudgee College - to return home to play for Queensland.

Hickey, though, is optimistic Elsom will reunite with the Waratahs, where he enjoyed a six-season stint from 2003-08.

"I think if Rocky comes back to Australia that the Waratahs would be top of his list," Hickey said on Friday.

"We spoke to Rocky a couple of weeks ago and Rocky's still working out what he wants to do.

"Rocky's aware that we're really interested to talk to him. It becomes a little bit more difficult because there's a third party with the ARU involved.

"So he needs time to work through those negotiations and we'll just stay in touch with him and see how it unfolds over the next few weeks."

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