Rocky Elsom won’t return from Leinster to play in Australia despite giving the Australian Rugby Union his word that he would.
The ARU agreed to release Elsom from his contract early on “compassionate grounds” – believed to be related to financial problems caused by a property deal that went bad. The agreement was that he would return for the 2010 Super 14 and be available for Wallaby selection thereafter.
However, Elsom, who is reportedly earning double what is contract with the Waratahs and ARU was worth, never signed the contract and seemingly has no intention of honouring his verbal agreement.
‘Rocky was released on compassionate grounds and was committed to coming back to Australia this June to play for the Wallabies and was released on that basis,’ a source told The Sun-Herald.
‘He gave his word that he was going to come back but nothing was actually signed. It was a massive oversight. He was released on a promise.
‘Rocky’s a pretty complicated bloke and he dragged out negotiations for so long that it [the contract signing] was overlooked. The ARU aren’t happy and understandably so, but it’s all worked out well for Rocky Elsom. Who’s to blame him for taking the massive cash on offer?’
Elsom recently agreed to play for the Barbarians against the Wallabies in June, which was seen as confirmation that his future was in Europe.
‘The understanding of the agreement was that he was meant to be back playing for the Wallabies in June against the Barbarians, so with that in mind, I can’t see him coming back anytime soon,’ the source said.
‘He is already on big money over there and he’s been such a hit that he’s been offered even more to stay, I’d say,’ the source said. ‘And I understand there are no shortage of clubs in Wales, England, France, Japan and elsewhere, who are in the market for his signature. He’s a bloody good rugby player and he has a lot of opportunities to consider.’
“They love him over there and he’s very close to coach Michael Cheika. I think it’s pretty safe to assume he won’t be returning to Australia for a while longer, and that wasn’t the basis on which the ARU agreed to release him. They’re not happy.”