Force to make life hard for Rocky Elsom - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Force to make life hard for Rocky Elsom

Justin Chadwick 19/05/2011 06:10:39 PM Comments (0)

Returning Brumbies skipper Rocky Elsom has been warned to expect a torrid time when he lines up in Saturday night's Super Rugby clash with the Western Force in Perth.

Elsom, who hasn't played since featuring for the Wallabies last November, was named in the Brumbies' back row after telling coach Tony Rea his hamstring was fully healed and ready for action.

But Force coach Richard Graham doesn't want to make life easy for the 28-year-old, urging his star-studded back row of Matt Hodgson, Ben McCalman and David Pocock to shut down the Wallabies enforcer from the outset.

"He's been out for six months so it's going to take him time to find his feet and it's going to be important, particularly for our back row, that we don't allow him any momentum," Graham said on Thursday.

"He carries the ball strongly, he has strong belief in his own ability ...

"He'll give them something but as I say it's important that we don't allow him to have too much of an influence."

Rea gave his side a public tongue-lashing after last week's embarrassing loss to the Lions, but Graham said the Force couldn't afford to worry about the effect it might have on the Brumbies' player group.

"Any time the coach comes out publicly and gives you a bit of a spray like that there will be a reaction," Graham said.

"To be honest, since coming back from the bye this week all we have focused on is ourselves and our performance.

"How they've played over the past couple of weeks, how they react to the coach, we're obviously going to have the greatest influence when we get out on the field."

The Brumbies will be without new Force signing Salesi Ma'afu, while hooker Huia Edmonds, Ita Veae and Mitchell Chapman will also miss out due to injury.

Lock Mark Chisholm returns to the run-on side for his 100th cap, while Julian Salvi will start at No.8 and Henry Speight replaces Andrew Smith on the wing.

Force backrower Richard Brown has been ruled out due to a series of niggles, paving the way for McCalman to return to the back row.

And in the only other change to the Force run-on side, outside centre Rory Sidey replaces Mitch Inman.

Brumbies: Pat McCabe, Henry Speight, Tyrone Smith, Christian Lealiifano, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Matt Giteau, Josh Valentine, Julian Salvi, Colby Faingaa, Rocky Elsom, Mark Chisholm, Ben Hand, Ben Alexander, Stephen Moore, Jono Owen. Res: Anthony Hegarty, Jerry Yanuyanutawa, Peter Kimlin, Michael Hooper, Patrick Phibbs, Robbie Coleman, Andrew Smith.

Force: Patrick Dellit, Nick Cummins, Rory Sidey, James O'Connor, David Smith, Willie Ripia, Brett Sheehan, Ben McCalman, David Pocock, Matt Hodgson, Nathan Sharpe (capt), Sam Wykes, Matt Dunning, Nathan Charles, Pek Cowan. Res: Ben Whittaker, Kieran Longbottom, Tom Hockings, Jono Jenkins, James Stannard, Gene Fairbanks, Alfie Mafi.

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