Elsom out of Wallabies clash with Italy - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Elsom out of Wallabies clash with Italy

By David Beniuk 08/06/2009 05:26:54 PM Comments (0)

Rocky Elsom's return to the Wallabies has been put on hold, with the star flanker ruled out of Saturday night's Test against Italy in Canberra.

Elsom was unable to train on Monday and underwent further assessment on his injured knee, which is tender and bruised around the bone.

Officials say the injury is worse than at first thought but have not put a timeframe on when the 40-Test star will be available.

Elsom's first game for Australia since last year's Tri-Nations series has been much anticipated after he was released to play with Irish side Leinster.

The rampaging No.6 was man-of-the-match in Europe's Heineken Cup final two weeks ago and is in some of the best form of his career.

His injury worry surfaced when he was ruled out of the Barbarians side for last Saturday's clash, won 55-7 by Australia.

Wallabies coach Robbie Deans, who will name his team on Tuesday, is now faced with a selection headache after his No.6 last Saturday, Matt Hodgson, injured an AC joint, ruling him out for three weeks.

Dean Mumm is the most likely replacement at blindside flanker, with a regular openside such as Phil Waugh or David Pocock also a possibility to wear the No.6 jersey.

If Mumm gets the nod, the Brumbies' Peter Kimlin would back up locks James Horwill and Nathan Sharpe from the bench.

Halfback Luke Burgess (hip) and winger Drew Mitchell (hamstring) only took part in light training on Monday but neither is considered doubtful.

Meanwhile, fit-again speedster Peter Hynes has reminded Deans his wing partnership with Lote Tuqiri would let no one down.

The Kiwi coach dropped Tuqiri from his first side of the winter but is a big fan of Hynes, who he rushed into a gold jersey last year and who is ready for selection after recovering from a knee injury.

Hynes knows he and Tuqiri have a tough challenge in deposing in-form Lachie Turner and Mitchell, but he says the 2008 pair could still offer plenty.

"Absolutely. I think we played pretty well as a back three (with Adam Ashley-Cooper) last year, I think we worked really well together," he told AAP on Monday.

"(Tuqiri's) certainly proved he's a terrific defender and he's always going to step up for the big games so having him on the other wing is certainly great from my point of view.

"But at the same time Drew and Lachie were exactly the same, if they're out there they'll do the job and they're going to give it all as well."

Hynes said Tuqiri had responded well to his demotion.

"I don't think that by any means that he's not in the plans," he said.

"The Baa Baas game, it's the first game of the year, I don't think you can read too much into it.

"I think, knowing the player that he is, he will bounce back and I have no doubt that he'll be playing a lot of games this year."

Queenslander Hynes, who had knee surgery mid-season and missed a handful of the Reds' Super 14 games, said he was ready to play but, like Tuqiri, isn't counting on being named on Tuesday.

"I think there's a tremendous amount of pressure on every winger at the moment, everyone seems to be playing pretty well and I don't think I can take it for granted that the spot's mine," he said.

"I think I've got to go out and re-earn it if I get that chance."

Possible Wallabies team: Adam Ashley-Cooper, Lachie Turner, Stirling Mortlock (capt), Berrick Barnes, Drew Mitchell, Matt Giteau, Luke Burgess, Richard Brown, George Smith, Dean Mumm, Nathan Sharpe, James Horwill, Al Baxter, Stephen Moore, Benn Robinson. Res: Tatafu Polota-Nau, Ben Alexander, Peter Kimlin, David Pocock, Josh Valentine, Quade Cooper, James O'Connor.

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