Take captaincy off Elsom: Horan - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Take captaincy off Elsom: Horan

Jim Morton 25/03/2011 05:19:24 PM Comments (0)

Wallabies great Tim Horan believes Robbie Deans should relieve Rocky Elsom of the Test captaincy so the injured flanker can return to his rampaging best for the Rugby World Cup.

Horan fears Elsom's recurring hamstring troubles and the "burden" of leadership will prevent the Australian skipper being the back-row force he needs to be to lift the World Cup.

Elsom has missed the first six weeks of Super Rugby this season and is not expected to return to action until the Brumbies face the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein in round 11 (April 29).

The 28-year-old would then have six matches to prove himself worthy of his Wallabies No.6 jersey, but Horan said there would be a question mark over his form and fitness at the start of the Test season against Samoa on July 17.

The 80-Test back and former Wallabies selector felt a naturally "insular" Elsom, crowned the European player of 2008-09 after a barnstorming season with Leinster, was inhibited by leadership in 2010 and needed the extra weight taken off his shoulders.

"I believe the captaincy burdens Rocky too much," Horan told AAP.

"The only way I think you see the best from Rocky Elsom is when he doesn't have the (c) or (vc) next to his name.

"I want to see the same Rocky Elsom that played over in the UK.

"If I was Robbie Deans I'd be giving the leadership to a couple of other players and let Rocky get back into form because, to win the World Cup, you need Rocky Elsom to be playing at 100 per cent."

Horan would rather Queensland duo Will Genia and James Horwill take the reins, allowing Elsom to deal with the pressure of retaining his Test spot ahead of Force forward Ben McCalman and Reds flanker Scott Higginbotham.

Brumbies chief executive Andrew Fagan denied Elsom was struggling in his recovery and hoped to see him back for round nine against the Western Force.

But it appears the most realistic return date is during the Brumbies two-match trip to South Africa after a week 10bye.

While Fagan was confident Elsom would take little time to return to his best, Horan said the late return and risk of aggravating the recurring problem left a cloud over his Test place.

"At best he's only going to play five or six games and is that enough to get him where you want him at the start of the Test season," Horan said.

"I'm sure he's good enough to play for the Wallabies and be captain but is that a distraction to him and preventing him from being the best player he can be."

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