Elsom braced for breakdown battle

Australia flank Rocky Elsom looks set to return from injury for Saturday’s Test and is expecting another tough skirmish at the breakdown.

Elsom had been a doubt after missing Australia’s last Test against the All Blacks in Auckland with a foot injury, but came through this morning’s training session in Cape Town well.

The powerful loose forward is known for his dogged approach to the game and expects a almighty scrap at the breakdown. The Wallabies comprehensively outplayed the Springboks in this facet of play in Perth and their dominance there was a major contributor to their victory.

“I think that it [the breakdown] will be a battle, and whoever wins it will go a long way to winning the match,” Elsom told keo.co.za.

At Newlands the All Blacks outmuscled the Springboks at the tackle point which gave them the ascendancy on the deck. Elsom, however, thought the Boks were compromised in that area by some questionable officiating from referee Matt Goddard.

“I think that South Africa will probably feel that a few crucial decisions probably didn’t go their way and it looked obvious from the stands that some calls really hurt them, particularly when they were on the front foot,” said Elsom.

“They could probably be a little disappointed in the way that worked out, because I thought the Springboks gave themselves a lot of opportunities and they didn’t get to capitalise on them.”

“Sometimes a half arm became a full arm [penalty] and it really cost them. You don’t want to say that the game went down to calls and I think New Zealand played really well. But they could be pretty upset with the way it worked out.”

By Andrew Worling