Rocky Dan Elsom

  • 75Caps
  • 794Wallaby Number
  • 38Age
PositionFlanker
Date Of Birth13 February 1983
Place Of BirthMelbourne
SchoolSt. Joseph's Nudgee College
Debut ClubRandwick
Other ClubsLeinster (IRE), Kobe Steel (JAP), Toulon (FRA), Narbonne (FRA)
ProvinceNSW
Other ProvinceACT
Debut Test Match2005 Wallabies v Samoa, Sydney
Final Test Match2011 Wallabies v New Zealand, 3rd Test Auckland

Biography

Rocky Elsom brought a confrontational, bullocking style to his rugby, a game that he didn’t play until he was 14 years old. Believed to have descended from the Vikings, Elsom was a man of massive physical presence who went on to captain his country and become the most capped (71) blindside flanker in Wallaby history.

As a young boy Elsom played junior rugby league for the Noosa Pirates. Aged 14 he and elder brother Dusty switched to the 15-man game and joined the Noosa Dolphins Rugby Union Club. He was selected for an U16 Sunshine Coast representative side to play a carnival on the Gold Coast and was spotted by a scout from one of Queensland’s great rugby nurseries, Nudgee College.

Elsom played two seasons of 1st XV rugby at Nudgee and from there earned selection for Australian Schools. After he graduated, Elsom returned to rugby league where he spent two seasons with the Canterbury Bulldogs.

In 2003, Elsom found his way back to rugby and made his Super Rugby debut for the Waratahs against Auckland. A strong 2005 provincial season saw Elsom rewarded with a maiden Test against Samoa in Sydney. He soon became a near indispensable member of the Wallaby squad over the next four seasons and started in 39 of his 40 Tests as at the end of the 2008 Tri-Nations series.

Elsom then stunned the Wallabies when he upped and left to play with Irish side Leinster. During his 2008/09 tenure in Ireland, Leinster won the coveted Heineken Cup and Elsom starred. He was voted Leinster Rugby Player of the Year, Magners League Player of the Year and European Player of the Year.

Just as surprising as his departure was Elsom’s return to Australia when he signed with the ACT Brumbies in mid-2009. Four months later not only was Elsom back in Wallaby colours but he was named captain. While he led gamely from the front his team’s results were inconsistent. Three weeks out from the 2011 Rugby World Cup Elsom was sensationally replaced as captain by Queensland's James Horwill. Within two months Elsom played the last of his 75 Tests, the semi-final loss to New Zealand at Eden Park. As a loyal servant to Australian Rugby, he deserved a far more fitting finale.

Highlights

1999

Represented Australian U16s

2000

Represented Australian Schools against Ireland Schools.

2003

Selected in the Australian squad for the second-annual IRB U21 Rugby World Championships in England.

2004

Selected in the Australian squad for the third-annual IRB U21 Rugby World Championships in Scotland.

2005

Elsom won his first Test cap in the run-on XV at blindside flanker in the 74-7 triumph over Samoa in Sydney. In that game he became the 82nd Wallaby to score a Test try on debut. Elsom accumulated a total of 9 caps for the year.

2006

Elsom played all 13 Wallaby Tests, the first four at No.8 and the final nine at blindside flanker.

2007

Elsom earned a further 10 Test caps, all as the run-on No.6, and was selected to his first Rugby World Cup. In the opening pool game against Japan he became just the fourth Wallaby forward to score a hat-trick of tries in a single Test.

2008

Elsom was picked as the starting blindside flanker in all eight Tests that he played. He was granted a release from his ARU contract following the Tri-Nations series on unspecified "compassionate grounds" that allowed him to take up a deal with Irish club Leinster.

2009

Elsom returned from Leinster and was immediately thrust into the Wallaby squad. He played in the final nine Tests of the season, all in the No.6 jersey. Ahead of the 4th Test against New Zealand in Tokyo and the subsequent Spring Tour to Europe Elsom was named as the 76th Wallaby to captain his country.

2010

Elsom captained from blindside flanker in all 15 Tests. He won his 50th Test cap in the opening match of the season, the 49-3 win over Fiji in Canberra.

2011

Elsom played the opening 11 Tests of the season, the first four as captain and ten of the eleven at No.6. He was picked for his second Rugby World Cup where he was in the run-on XV in five of the team’s seven internationals. His final Test for Australia was the 6-20 semi-final loss to New Zealand in Auckland.

Rocky Dan Elsom