Posted by: fiore | September 16, 2011

A game within the game

My RWC game of the impending weekend *has* to be Australia v Ireland. No doubt about it. Not only because they’re both in Italy‘s pool but first and foremost because they are my two very favourite teams. They both have a powerful back row and extremely talented backs, and a rather exciting game.

The game will be also a reunion of old pals as Rocky Elsom will find some friendly faces wearing the green jersey. Elsom’s former team-mates had nothing but praises for the Aussie flanker. During his one season in Dublin, Rocky was named player of the year in the Magners League and played a significant role in inspiring the club to their first Heineken Cup, an achievement that Leamy said has had lasting repercussions. “He brought on the guys around him in the Leinster pack and he’s left a bit of a legacy there.” Players to benefit include up-and-coming Irish loose forwards Jamie Heaslip and Sean O’Brien, who played alongside Elsom in Dublin. “You can see that Jamie and Sean were obviously a bit younger than him and he’s rubbed off on them definitely,” Leamy said. “You can see the dynamic it has brought to their game. The way they play is very like what Rocky does now.”

On his side Elsom returned the praises for his former team-mates: “Particularly in the back row, they’ve got a lot of ball-carrying options,” he said. “With the 6, 7, 8 combination, they’ve got a lot of leg drive with those blokes. They’re probably one of the more underrated back rows in test rugby. We’ve got to be on our game.”

So it will be a game within the game…

Old pals

In the meantime Ireland hooker Jerry Flannery has been ruled out of the remainder of Rugby World Cup 2011 after tearing a calf muscle in training, while Aussie David Pocock missed the Friday training session as a precautionary measure due to tightness in his back.

Australia: Kurtley Beale, James O’Connor, Anthony Fainga’a, Pat McCabe, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Quade Cooper, Will Genia; Radike Samo, David Pocock, Rocky Elsom, James Horwill (captain), Dan Vickerman, Ben Alexander, Stephen Moore, Sekope Kepu.

Reserves: Tatafu Polota-Nau, James Slipper, Rob Simmons, Ben McCalman, Scott Higginbotham, Luke Burgess, Drew Mitchell.

Ireland: Rob Kearney, Tommy Bowe, Brian O’Driscoll (captain), Gordon D’Arcy, Keith Earls, Jonathan Sexton, Eoin Reddan; Jamie Heaslip, Sean O’Brien, Stephen Ferris, Paul O’Connell, Donncha O’Callaghan, Mike Ross, Rory Best, Cian Healy.

Reserves: Sean Cronin, Tom Court, Donnacha Ryan, Denis Leamy, Conor Murray, Ronan O’Gara, Andrew Trimble.

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