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Page last updated at 16:18 GMT, Thursday, 28 May 2009 17:18 UK

Elsom opts to return to Australia

Rocky Elsom and Brian O'Driscoll
O'Driscoll said Leinster would not have won the Heineken Cup without Elsom

Rocky Elsom, Leinster's back-row forward Heineken Cup winning hero, has decided to return to Australia to resume his career with the Wallabies.

Leinster were desperate to keep Elsom but the lure of adding to his 58 Wallaby caps persuaded him to conclude his one-year stay in Europe.

"I already liked Dublin before playing for Leinster and obviously I enjoyed the rugby," said the 26-year-old.

"But ultimately I'm Australian and want to play for Australia," he added.

"You don't always have the opportunity to do that but I do now so I want to take advantage of it.

"My contract with Leinster is over so I'm going to try and head back to Australia.

"I want to play for a Super 14 team because my first priority has always been the Wallabies. That's what I want to do."

Elsom's bulldozing runs and ferocious tackling proved instrumental in the Irish province's Heineken Cup success but he has remained in regular contact with the Australian Rugby Union.

"I've really enjoyed this season and I didn't expect to like it as much.

"I've spoken at length with the Australian management about moving back, it's not something I've only just decided to do.

"It's just about finalising things now."

Leinster skipper Brian O'Driscoll went as far as to state that the province would not have won the competition without Elsom.

Such a formidable presence will be impossible to replace and his decision to decline taking a one-year option on his contract is a huge blow to the European champions.

Elsom is being tipped to join the ACT Brumbies although Queensland and his former club New South Wales also want his services.



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European rugby archive
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