Wallabies skipper Elsom grabs limelight - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Wallabies skipper Elsom grabs limelight

By Darren Walton 11/11/2009 08:37:31 AM Comments (0)

The Wallabies say it's great flying under the radar in Dublin this week as hugely popular skipper Rocky Elsom hogs the limelight in the build-up to Sunday's grand slam showdown with Ireland.

Elsom, an honourary Dubliner after leading Leinster to Heineken Cup glory earlier this year, is commanding attention wherever he goes.

King of the kids, Elsom spent seemingly half of Tuesday's training session signing autographs, posing for photos or just plain fraternising with starstruck local fans.

"It's good to have Rocky here. It takes the pressure off everyone else," Wallabies five-eighth Matt Giteau said.

Elsom's teammates are also loving the chance to take the mickey out of their attention-grabbing captain.

Hooker and good mate Stephen Moore said: "He got the shirt saying 'I'm big in Europe' before he came over."

Giteau says it's impossible to avoid Rockymania.

"Yeah, he's brought a lot of his trophies over with him, so everyone knows he's a big deal. He's been telling the lot of us," he said.

The Wallabies are thoroughly enjoying their stay in one of the friendliest cities in the world, just as the Irish are enjoying hosting them.

Coach Robbie Deans has encouraged his players to enjoy Dublin for what it is, to lap up the hospitality without taking their eye off the ball.

Local journalists marvel at Deans's refreshing approach and for showing so much faith in his youngsters, saying it would be unthinkable for Ireland to blood such raw talent in the Test arena like he has since taking charge of the Wallabies.

One reporter asked Giteau if it was the "Australian culture to give youth a go"?

He responded: "It could be the New Zealand culture.

"Obviously we have a New Zealand coach and he just shows a lot of confidence throughout the group.

"When I was chosen (at 20 for my Test debut), that was almost out of the blue and that was a real big thing.

"Whereas now, throughout our squad, it's almost the norm that a lot of younger guys are given their opportunities a lot earlier than, I suppose, in other countries.

"And I think that's the biggest thing that Robbie brings, not only for the younger players but the experienced players, just to be able to go out there and play your natural game because that's basically why you got picked, got you chosen in the squad.

"It's just a mentality that Robbie has and so far it has worked. A lot of the younger guys have shown that they deserve to be on this tour."

Deans will name his line-up for Sunday's big match at Croke Park on Wednesday.

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