Elsom relishing return to Emerald Isle
November 8, 2009
Wallabies skipper Rocky Elsom lifts the Cook Cup following his side's victory at Twickenham © Getty Images
Australia captain Rocky Elsom will make a swift return to Dublin next weekend just a matter or months since inspiring Leinster to Heineken Cup glory.
The 26-year-old flanker brought the curtain down on a one-year sabbatical in Ireland with victory in European club rugby's showpiece event before returning home in June to resume his international career. Now Wallabies skipper, Elsom leads his side to Croke Park and the second leg of a potential Grand Slam on a high after yesterday's 18-9 victory at Twickenham.
And Elsom is looking forward to locking horns with his former Leinster team-mates Brian O'Driscoll, Jamie Heaslip and Rob Kearney.
"It is funny how it works out," smiled Elsom, who has replaced Stirling Mortlock as Wallabies captain. "I am really looking forward to going back to Ireland. I made a lot of good friends there.
"I had a great time at Leinster. I can't think how I could possibly have had a better time! But what made it an easy decision to leave was that I thought I would regret not going back to Australia because of international rugby.
"Because I would be missing that aspect of the game, I thought it would take away from the experience of staying in Ireland. I do regret leaving pretty soon after the Heineken Cup final - I would have liked to stay around for a bit longer!"
Elsom was a close observer of Ireland's Grand Slam triumph last season in what was a memorable season for O'Driscoll, Kearney and co who completed the Six Nations and Heineken Cup double. And Elsom suggested Ireland could well prove a tougher nut to crack than England were yesterday.
"England played well in patches there and we obviously outlasted them," said Elsom. "Ireland had a great Six Nations. They have a good style and have a lot of players playing well. I can only imagine they will be very difficult. They don't really look to have too many weaknesses. It is going to be a big match."
"Some people have it from day one and Brian did." Tom Hamilton talks to the two players who made their Ireland debuts alongside Brian O'Driscoll back in June 1999
Despite having lost all four of their 2014 Six Nations games, the future of Italian rugby is bright with the team showing a new youthful core, argues Enrico Borra
"The loudest cheer at a rugby game, away from social media gimmicks, pumping music and pyrotechnics will always be for a try." Tom Hamilton on the Twickenham atmosphere
"The only thing that will stop this England team from becoming a great team is themselves. They need to ask themselves 'what can we be?'" The Phil Vickery column