Rocky Elsom named new captain of Australian Wallabies

Rocky’s sterling effort

Rocky’s sterling effort
Rocky Elsom

The Rock, The Man

Rocky Elsom has been named Wallaby captain for the upcoming Northern Hemisphere tour beginning later this month.

He has taken over from Stirling Mortlock who was also named in the side. Berrick Barnes is the Vice- Captain. This will no doubt increase speculation that Mortlock’s Wallaby career may be coming to a close on top of his recent visit to Japan to check-out future options.

Seven uncapped players have been included in the Wallabies squad announced today. The tour will incorporate Australia’s first attempt at a Grand Slam of the UK and Ireland in 25 years. The new caps are Kurtley Beale (NSW), Rob Horne (NSW), Dave Dennis (NSW), Richard Kingi (QLD), Mitchell Chapman (ACT), Salesi Ma’afu (ACT) and Matt Hodgson (WA).

The new leadership group is headed up by Elsom, 26, who has played 44 Tests for his country, having debuted against Samoa in 2005. He returned to Australia earlier this year in time to play four times during the Tri Nations, after a successful off-season in Ireland where he helped the Dublin-based Leinster club win the Heineken Cup.

He now becomes Australia’s 76th Test captain. Coach Robbie Deans felt that the time was right to adjust the leadership of the team. 

“Stirling has done a good job as Australian skipper, both before I became involved, and over the last 16 months. He also understands that this initiative has no meaning in terms of his playing future. He has indicated a desire to continue not only to play but also to lead and we respect that,” Deans says.

In discussing George Smith’s recent captaincy he said: “Although George did a sound job taking over once Stirling was injured this season, we feel the role has never really sat naturally with him. Captaincy requires a big commitment both on and away from the field and we believe George is better served not being saddled with the additional responsibility. He still has the opportunity to contribute leadership within the group.”

Deans says Elsom appealed as the best option for the position, both due to his certainty in terms of selection and ability to lead from the front. “Rocky has the respect of his team-mates because of his approach and the total commitment he brings to the game,” Deans says.

Twenty seven of the players selected today featured for the Wallabies earlier in the year, in either the mid-year Test window or during the Tri Nations.

Three players who were members of the pre-tour training squad – lock Nathan Sharpe, uncapped winger Nick Cummins and flanker Phil Waugh, were not considered due to injury.

The biggest casualty is prop Al Baxter who’s test career appears to be all but over.

 Wallabies Squad

Backs – James O’Connor, Lachie Turner, Drew Mitchell, Peter Hynes, Digby Ioane, Rob Horne, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Stirling Mortlock, Ryan Cross, Berrick Barnes (vice-capt), Kurtley Beale, Quade Cooper, Matt Giteau, Will Genia, Luke Burgess, Richard Kingi.

Forwards – Richard Brown, Wycliff Palu, David Pocock, George Smith, Rocky Elsom (capt), Matt Hodgson, David Dennis, Mitchell Chapman, Dean Mumm, Mark Chisholm, James Horwill, Benn Robinson, Ben Alexander, Pek Cowan, Sekope Kepu, Salesi Ma’afu, Matt Dunning, Stephen Moore, Tatafu Polota-Nau

  • beeza

    Great news. Props to Captain Insano for his time at the helm, I hope he gets back into some form and some game time!

  • Well done to Berrick on being made vice captain, he hasn’t even played for NSW yet and his career is already taking off.

    Go Rocky, I reckon he’ll turn into one of our all time great captains… so long as I don’t have to interview him AND stay awake.

    What the hell is Robbie on?
    “A good job”, not a great job.

    “No meaning on his playing future”? If he’s not captain then he’s not an automatic selection. With AAC, Cross and Horne all going for his position there’s definately pressure on Stirlo.

    “a desire to continue not only to play but also to lead”. If he had a desire to lead then perhaps catain is a good place to fulfil this…

    “and we respect that” They why dump him from the captaincy?

    • Lance Free

      You should of heard the rest:

      “That is why we have opted to introduce some younger players, as opposed to taking along players whose capabilities we are already aware of. Clearly players who fall into that category are the likes of Baxter and possibly Waugh”

      i.e. f*ck off and get a suntan Le Fuse, Phil and Hoilesy!

      “Not only did it allow us an opportunity to work closely with a few players for the first time and observe their habits – both off the field and on the training paddock – we were also able to bed in a few standards ahead of the tour itself.”

      Like….picking their nose and eating it, and not making their bed?

      “History suggests we will suffer breakages, in terms of injured players, while we are away,”

      Breakages? Like dropping a f*cken plate on your toe?

      “If that happens, we have some other blokes who have been exposed to the methodology within the camp that we can call on if required.”

      Exposed to the methodology? You mean they know the three backline moves?

      For f*cks sake…!

    • Robson

      Maybe “no meaning for his playing future” means just that. That is we’ve canned him as skipper, but we still think he’s a bloody good centre.

      It seems to me to be a case of the old lion getting circled by the young lions. Stirlo needs to reinvent his game and if he can rediscover the form that made him the best centre in the world the young lions will have to wait a bit longer. When the WBs ran out of inside centres with Berrick’s injury last year Stirlo had to come in one and bridge the gap. There was literally nobody else at that time.

      Having said that I don’t think Andy Friend did Stirlo any favours by playing him on the wing in the S14 and his confidence must have already been down.

      I agree with Robbie, the best place for a captain is in the forwards with a good inside centre vice captain being able to report on issues that he doesn’t get to see.

      Gits seemed to me to be pre occupied with other things during the Tri Nations and played with a degree of anxiety in his style that I hadn’t noticed before. He has a form slump to attend to as well and looking at clubs overseas isn’t going to rectify that. Gits needs to think of the now and more than that he needs to think about his contribution to the team. When he starts to come from that perspective in his game his perfomance will go up exponentially.

      The only problem with Berrick as vc is his propensity for injury. Maybe if he came into flyhalf that might not be such an issue. Gits is not as tall and is more compact so he might be able to roll with the punches a bit better in defence than Berrick at inside centre.

      Having said that Berrick is an excellent defender, it’s just that it knocks him about too much.

      I wouldn’t mind betting that we will see Gits on the bench for at least one of the forthcoming matches.

  • Bobas

    Deans isn’t a selector.

    No Hoiles again.

    • Yeah, no Larkham either. Wtf is going on!?!?

    • Robson

      No it appears not, but I’ve yet to see anything in Stephen Hoiles that excites me about his contribution from the back of the scrum. I guess my problem is that my template for a No.8 is still Buck Shelford who always got across the game line off the back of the scrum as well as being a ball of fire everywhere else on the paddock. Cliffy Palu is the closest the WBs have got to that template at the mo, but he’s got to be primed to actually “play”.

      • if the trial is anything to go on, clif was in prime form, he smashed pretty much anyone that came near him and was all but unstoppable with the ball. given that the wallaby defence is pretty good, i think it says alot about him currently.

      • James

        he should have been there over richard brown. browns form this year has been awful and shouldn’t have been selected. there needs to be standard set.

        • Robson

          It’s bloody good news to hear that Cliffy is in monster mood.

        • Ed

          Palu wasn’t back to match fitness yet, he was very flat in his first game back.

          I think they thought it was better to persist with brown who could turn his form around within a game than wait a couple of weeks for Palu to get his form back.

  • DPK

    eight props!??!?!

    • Patrick

      Thank goodness for that!!

  • Nabley

    Stirlings ability in the game really took a dive this year. He went from being the best centre in the world to an also ran in double quick time. His decine can be measured from when they started playing round with his position on the field. He never got over it.

    Will have to wait and see just how Rocky can captain a team as oppsed to play in a team. There is a bit of Martin Johnson about him which is good but does he have the game smarts to get on top of the opposition. Clearly Smith did not have it and he will do well back at 7. Barnes is a good selection, but something has happened to Giteau that has ruined the chemistry that these two had. Giteau goes from best 5/8 in the S14 to an also ran. Perhaps a change in the laws has limited his game. Can barely remeber seeing him in Wellington except when he kicked goals.

    • Lance Free

      Nabley – have you ever heard of El Dommo’s disease?

      • Nabley

        Not in a rugby context but I think there is something in the motor neuron area. So what is your point?

  • chris

    i was wondering why ratu nasiganiyavi didnt even make the 43 man squad? ive seen a bit him and he looks like hes in the same class as jonah lomu!!

    • James

      Chris his form at club level has been terrible. he has the size to just stomp over people but for some reason doesn’t. maybe in a few years

      • chris

        oh ok thanks, ive only seem glimpses of him. its probably because he had a injur with his foot at the start of the year. anyways i hope we do see him play for the tahs next year

    • DPK

      he might get more consideration for selection after the next super 14 i he gets any game time, which will be hard in a team with so many good outside backs.

    • Lindommer

      Can’t catch, alway injured, Ratu’s got some way to go.

  • Joe Blow

    Most have been pretty harsh on Giteau of late. He remains the Wallabies most effective attacking weapon and although he didn’t have his best 3Ns this year, he was in everything and never stopped giving it 100%. I think he is being mis-judged and is committed to the Wallas, captaincy or not.
    Elsom the only choice for captain although he lacks experience in that area.
    It’s a very young side with a daunting tour ahead.

  • Who Needs Melon
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