Elsom warns against late lapses
September 16, 2009
Rocky Elsom has called on the Wallabies to learn from their recent late defeats © Getty Images
Rocky Elsom has called on his Australia team-mates to learn from their stunning 21-6 victory over the Springboks in Brisbane and not concede another lead to the All Blacks this weekend.
At Westpac Stadium on Saturday the Wallabies will be hoping to break a four game streak against the All Blacks, having conceded a half-time lead in every Test against their Trans-Tasman rivals since their final Tri-Nations showdown in Brisbane last season.
During this current campaign second-half lapses have cost the Wallabies dear, with a nine-point turnaround against New Zealand in Auckland (to lose 22-16) and 10-point in Sydney (to lose 19-18).
"The ability to keep at it, keep working and not have any lapses was a real positive out of that match," Elsom said. "There were a lot of good things that happened in Brisbane. We managed to get over the top of them as the game went on.
"That was a real positive but it's going to be a new challenge against New Zealand and they've got a point to prove."
Dan Carter's late penalty sealed victory in their last meeting and Elsom has called for the squad not to repeat the mistakes that cost them so dearly in Sydney.
"If we're going to win this one, we have to work a hell of a lot harder than we did then," he said. "Over the years the All Blacks have been pretty good at getting away with games. It's often very small things that happen. We know that because it's happened to us a lot, where we've come close but not been able to finish it off."
The All Blacks have picked up on the influence of Elsom since his return to the international stage. The flanker helped Leinster to the Heineken Cup in May before returning to Australia, where a knee injury delayed his return in green and gold.
"He's brought a bit of height to their lineout but around the park, he's probably the footballer of the northern hemisphere season," said All Blacks assistant coach Steve Hansen. "He's come back and taken a couple of games to come right but he's played well in their last two Tests.
"Like ourselves, Australia has to start producing it consistently. They were under the pump, had to win a Test match at some stage, particularly on home soil, otherwise they would have been crucified."
England broke their losing streak, but this was not them clawing their way back among the best, writes Tom Hamilton
Wales were just 13 minutes from a famous victory, but the lessons to be learned in defeat are almost exactly the same as those from previous near-misses, writes Huw Richards
Ahead of England's clash with Samoa, Scrum Sevens takes a wander down memory lane and celebrates seven examples of Pacific Islands magic
England must find a way to improve their game by tiny margins and they will get there, writes Phil Vickery