Leinster fight to keep Elsom in Ireland - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Leinster fight to keep Elsom in Ireland

By Jim Morton 28/05/2009 05:23:59 PM Comments (0)

Leinster's Australian coach Michael Cheika has outlined how much Rocky Elsom's expected return would boost the Wallabies by revealing he's still improving with every match.

Elsom is close to re-signing with the Australian Rugby Union but Cheika warned it wouldn't come without a huge fight from the Irish club heavyweights.

The former Randwick coach told ruggamatrix.com the Heineken Cup champions were "doing everything we can to keep him" in Dublin.

Part of their pitch is talking up the positive effects of the Irish lifestyle on the former NSW Waratahs firebrand.

Cheika said Elsom was now a far more relaxed character, highlighted by the way he handled a serious car accident before running amok in the weekend's Heineken Cup final triumph against Leicester.

"He's very calm and relaxed now," Cheika told ruggamatrix.com.

"When the guy smashed into him he obviously panicked when he saw it was Rocky.

"The car was written off, mind you, but Rocky saw the guy was shivering and he said 'Mate, don't worry, I was trying to get that wing mirror replaced for a couple of weeks now'.

"He keeps his cool when he needs to.

"That's why we're doing everything we can to keep him.

"He's really enjoying his football here and the style of life over here.

"That's one thing we're paying attention to."

Elsom was tipped to re-sign with the ARU this week to be eligible to add to his 40 Test caps for the Wallabies.

But a sticking point appears to be the blindside flanker's reluctance to commit to a Super 14 province for 2010.

The ARU need the 26-year-old to sign with a provincial team, expected to be the Brumbies, before picking him in their Test squad.

Cheika indicated Elsom, whose reputation has been significantly enhanced with his Irish stint, was desperate to again play for Australia.

"I know he wants to play Test football desperately which is pretty normal for a guy of that quality and age," he said.

"I know why Australia are so keen to get him back because I think he's improving as a player every day and he's a quality player to work with."

Cheika, who has another year to run in his contract with Leinster, said Elsom had been an "excellent pro" for his club, setting a perfect lead for his teammates to follow.

"He's been pretty awesome as far as his performances this season, on and off the field," he said.

"He's had an unbelievable impact on the town as well. The province here has got right behind him.

"He's thrown everything in to every performance and people respect that of players."

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