Elsom makes comeback for Waratahs



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Rocky Elsom will return to the HSBC Waratahs starting line-up this weekend after being named in the side to take on the Bulls in Pretoria on Saturday.

Elsom has made a excellent recovery since being sidelined with a thigh injury earlier this month.

‘The medical staff assessed it as a 4-6 week injury and he’s only missed four matches so in that sense the recovery has been really good,’ said Head Coach Ewen McKenzie.


‘He’s one of our most impactful players so it was quite a blow to lose him when we did, but to their credit the rest of the guys stood up and we haven’t missed a beat.’

Despite Elsom’s absence, the Waratahs have won their last five matches and will be keen to keep that run going on the high veldt on Saturday.

With Elsom selected at blindside flanker, Dean Mumm moves back to lock while Will Caldwell will make his 50th appearance for NSW from the bench.

Al Baxter will start the match at tighthead prop while Matt Dunning is one of five forwards selected on

the bench in the face of what is certain to be a physical confrontation up front in Pretoria.

‘Al’s been in good form and has had a significant impact in the second half of matches, and he deserves an opportunity in the starting line-up,’ said McKenzie.

Sekope Kepu has been selected as the extra front rower after some excellent form for Randwick, while Brett Sheehan and Matt Carraro are the sole backs on the bench.

‘I’ve said it before that selection is always one of the toughest parts of the week for us and when you look at the side this week you can see why,’ said McKenzie. ‘I’m really pleased with the depth we’ve got at the moment.

‘It’s never easy in South Africa, let alone playing the Super 14 champions first-up at altitude, but we’re going there confident we’ve got the players and the game to get the job done,’ said McKenzie.

2008 SUPER 14 ‘ WEEK 12
Saturday, 3 May 2008 (Kick-off 3:00pm SAST, 11:00pm AEST)
Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria
Referee: Lyndon Bray (NZL)
Touch Judges: Brent Murray (NZL) & Pro Legoete (AUS)


1. Benn Robinson, 2. Tatafu Polota-Nau, 3. Al Baxter*, 4. Dean Mumm, 5. Dan Vickerman, 6. Rocky Elsom, 7. Phil Waugh [c], 8. Wycliff Palu, 9. Luke Burgess, 10. Kurtley Beale, 11. Lote Tuqiri, 12. Tom Carter, 13. Rob Horne, 14. Lachie Turner
15. Sam Norton-Knight
Reserves: 16. Adam Freier, 17. Matt Dunning, 18. Will Caldwell# , 19. David Lyons, 20. Sekope Kepu, 21. Matt Carraro
22. Brett Sheehan
* 91st NSW Cap (7th all-time)
# 50th NSW Cap



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