Ioane fit and raring to go
October 4, 2011
Wallabies wing Digby Ioane has returned to training and is hoping for a recall this weekend © Getty Images
Digby Ioane has declared himself 100 percent fit for Australia's Rugby World Cup quarter-final clash with South Africa in Wellington.
The Queensland Red winger has been out of action since fracturing this thumb in the Wallabies tournament-opening victory over Italy on September 11 but is now ready to return in time to face the Springboks. "I am 100%," said Ioane. "I will be doing full training this week and be up there for selection."
The Aussies go into the game having already chalked up two victories over the reigning world champions in this year's triumphant Tri-Nations campaign. However, flanker Rocky Elsom feels it would be a mistake to read too much into their wins in Sydney and Durban.
"In the Tri Nations it was a different setting and the game was played a different way," he said. "But it doesn't mean we cannot adapt and it doesn't mean they won't adapt, but I imagine it will be different."
Indeed, Elsom feels that this weekend's encounter will hinge on the back-row battle for supremacy at the breakdown.
"If you ever discount the breakdown you are going to be in trouble, particularly as we get to the pointy end of the tournament," the former Leinster man said.
"That is going to be an area of contention, because any team that gets the dominance at the breakdown they are going to provide front-foot ball for their attack, and that is an enormous part of the game.
"I think if you look at the teams whose attack has really stuttered in this tournament, you can almost always link it back to the breakdown.
"Obviously, the game flows in the pool stages when you have lesser sides versus more fancied sides, but in the big games it tends to tighten up and every inch of ascendancy you can gain there at the breakdown is crucial."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
The Scotland coach enters his first Six Nations with at least one familiar face to look to for inspiration - Joe Schmidt. He chats to Tom Hamilton
Italy coach Jacques Brunel spoke to ESPN ahead of his final season as Italy coach and tells of his desire to experiment and evolve
"There's no bull with me, I just tell it straight." Tom Hamilton talks to Warren Gatland in an exclusive interview
With the retirement of Adam Jones, Welsh rugby says goodbye to a great player and one of its biggest personalities too, writes Tom Hamilton