Rocky raring to go

Rocky Elsom says he is delighted to finally be back in action after an injury-plagued season. [more]

Rocky raring to go

Rocky Elsom says he is delighted to finally be back in action after an injury-plagued season.

The Australia skipper will start Sunday’s friendly against Samoa in Sydney as the Wallabies begin their preparations for the forthcoming World Cup.

Elsom has hardly played at all since the end-of-year European tour in 2010. A hamstring injury saw him miss the first 13 weeks of the southern hemisphere season before an ankle knock curtailed his long-awaited comeback in late May.

In total, the former Leinster back row has been out of action for 20 weeks but he insists the manner in which he has dealt with the setbacks, both physically and mentally, will ensure he is more than ready to lead from the front against the Samoans.

"I'm pretty happy to be back," said Elsom, who at one stage had been rumoured to be a doubt for the Tri Nations opener against South Africa a week on Saturday.

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"My hamstring was fine when I went back to play for the Brumbies in May so I can only imagine that it's stronger since then.

"It's funny – sometimes you're in the middle of a long season and you feel fresh as a daisy and sometimes you don't. It's just the way it goes but I'm pretty excited about getting back into it.

"I've had a couple of long breaks there and I'm just really enjoying training with the team rather than by myself. I've always been progressing well. In my head I think I've prepared pretty well considering the injury."

The Australian public are hoping Elsom will play the full 80 minutes at the ANZ Stadium as coach Robbie Deans attempts to give his captain as much game time as possible in the lead up to the World Cup.

But Deans himself is refusing to state his intentions regarding his star flanker, with the Wallabies boss taking a wait and see approach to Elsom’s match involvement.

Deans freely admits that Elsom isn’t match fit but he is more than happy to be able to recall one of the more experienced members of his first-choice XV.

"Well he's fit and available, so you can call it 100 per cent if you like but from a rugby perspective obviously it's not (100%)," said Deans of the man who should lead the Wallabies into action for both the 2011 World Cup and the 2013 Lions tour.

"He doesn't have rugby conditioning but it's good that he's able to get started and we'll just respond to what we see in terms of within the game and go from there."

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