SYDNEY // Rocky Elsom signed a new two-year deal with the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) today after returning home from a season in Ireland. The Wallaby flanker left Australia last year to play for Irish province Leinster after the ARU granted him an early release on compassionate grounds. The forward was a big hit in Europe, winning the man of the match award in Leinster's Heineken Cup win over Leicester, but said he wanted to come home because of the lure of playing for Australia.
"Playing for Australia means a lot to me. Playing for the Wallabies is my number one priority," he said in a statement. Elsom's new deal will take him through to the end of the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand. He also signed a two-year agreement to play Super 14 rugby for the ACT Brumbies. The 26-year-old was selected to play for the Barbarians against Australia at Sydney on Saturday but would be available for Wallaby selection for the rest of this season.
"When we let Rocky go last year there were personal circumstances that he raised which we took into consideration," the ARU chief executive John O'Neill said. "Rocky has repaid that goodwill by returning when he suggested he might. "We were hoping Rocky's desire to play for the Wallabies would be irresistible and see him back here and available for the 2009 international season." *Reuters