IS IT great news for Tahs rugby and its supporters that Rocky Elsom will be returning to the playing field?
Once known as the Wallaby captain, Rocky’s glow has softened over the last year. In fact, you could say he has not shown any consistent form since returning from a stint in Europe where he won the European Player of the Year in 2008/2009.
While that’s a pretty special honour, it’s three seasons ago and highlights since then have been few and far between.
It appears the man who was born in Melbourne and grew up in Noosa is valued for his leadership skills – he’ll take over from Benn Robinson for tonight’s game against the Bulls – but a leader in footy is simply not as effective if his playing form does not warrant selection.
My objective here is not to give Rocky a serve. The rugby world, and for that matter, the Tahs and Wallaby world is a better place with him playing at his best.
But the big fella needs to regain his form from a couple of years ago, and he needs to find it very, very fast.
With the in-bound tests against Scotland and Wales just around the corner, his return is timely. But, as ‘Dingo’ Deans and the Wallaby selectors will most probably be less inclined to select players on reputation, Rocky needs peak form really quickly.
And with ‘Dingo’ struggling for results that will drive his continued tenure as Wallaby coach, he’s possibly not going to be as forgiving with players out of form.
And should Rocky want to be involved in the 2013 Lions Tours, which will be a massive, massive occasion, he needs to sustain this form. We wish him the best of luck.
Tonight’s game could be the (re)beginning of something special for Rocky. The game that makes a statement and sets the standard for the remainder of his time in Tahs and Wallaby colours.
Tries, and lots of them, can save the Reds
Talk about matches taking on additional significance, the Reds’ home game against the top-of-the-table Chiefs in Brisbane on Sunday could determine their fate for 2012.
Ok, maybe I’m being a bit hasty in judgment. But a win with an attacking bonus point will set last year’s Super 15 champs up for the remaining games of the season.
But that is no guarantee. The 2012 Reds are not the 2011, or even the 2010 Reds. A list of injuries as long as captain James Horwill’s legs hasn’t helped.
Sitting ninth on the table and 16 points below Sunday’s opposition – and eight points outside the final six – the Reds must win five of their last six games and maximise their attacking bonus point victories to secure a spot in the finals.
Securing an attacking bonus point is no guarantee, either. Can you believe that the Reds have not created an attacking bonus point in 2012? Yeah, extraordinary, especially for a team known for its open style.
If necessity is the mother of, well, making the Super 15 semis, and that necessity is winning with bonus points, then we are in for a very entertaining run into the finals.
By Peter Slattery