Elsom back to sharpen up Wallabies - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Elsom back to sharpen up Wallabies

By David Beniuk 18/08/2009 06:35:22 PM Comments (0)

A still "uncomfortable" Rocky Elsom has downplayed his ability to solve the Wallabies' wobbles.

The 26-year-old flanker was named on Tuesday to play his first Test for Australia since last year's Tri Nations series - and his first game of rugby in nearly three months.

Elsom last played for the Barbarians against England at Twickenham on May 31, a week after a man of the match performance for Irish side Leinster in the Heineken Cup final, but has been sidelined by bone bruising in his knee since.

"It's uncomfortable but, on the scale of things, it's not too bad," Elsom said of the injury.

Touted as the only Wallaby who would definitely make a World XV when fit, his attitude and carry have been missed by Australia, who have opened the Tri Nations tournament with losses in Auckland and Cape Town while Richard Brown wore the No.6 jersey.

Returning to training, Elsom had said he'd identified some of the side's problems, giving Australian rugby supporters hope he could now do something about them.

"I don't think I'm going there to solve anything but there are certain things in games that have let us down and that's been quite costly," Elsom said.

"When you look at the game (this) weekend, it's just about making sure there's no lapse in concentration there and we play out the full 80 - and if we don't do that it's going to be very tough for us."

But Brown, who has been moved to his preferred position of No.8 for the must-win ANZ Stadium showdown, said Elsom's presence had already been felt at training.

"He tells people what to do a lot, he voices his opinion," Brown said.

"It's good having both he and George (Smith) there.

"Rocky's a dominant character and he probably should give a lot of direction to our forward pack."

Forwards coach Jim Williams said he had no doubt Elsom could physically handle a Bledisloe Cup Test after his long lay-off.

"With Rocky I don't think that's really the issue, it's just a matter of he's ready to go," Williams said.

"The way he's trained has been excellent, he's certainly added a lot of energy and has been a presence around training and that's probably one or two of the things we're looking for as well in the game itself."

Elsom also has a fan in All Blacks coach Graham Henry, who was glowing in his praise of the loose forward on Tuesday.

"He's a world class player," Henry said.

"He's probably one of the most improved international forwards over the last decade."

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