English depth impresses Elsom

2009-11-07 06:51

London - Australia captain Rocky Elsom says suggestions the Wallabies will have things all their own way against a new-look England at Twickenham on Saturday are wide of the mark.

England have been badly hit by injuries in the build-up to the November Test programme, losing 11 members of their initial squad and an entire, all British and Irish Lions, front row.

And nearly half of this weekend's side have yet to reach double figures in terms of England caps.

But Elsom has a healthy respect for English rugby after playing a starring role last season for Irish province Leinster in their European Cup final win over Premiership champions Leicester before heading home to Australia.

"One thing I didn't really realise before coming to Leinster is that the Premiership has a fair bit of depth," Elsom told reporters at Twickenham on Friday.

"It is a really great tournament for selecting blokes. There are a lot of guys to choose from and you see them play a lot," the back-row forward added.

"There are a lot of good players in that squad who probably don't have the recognition. You also get the effect that when guys are playing their first few games there is a lot of excitement and energy and that definitely helps them."

Australia too will be fielding some inexperienced internationals, in particular a new centre combination of Quade Cooper and Digby Ione after injuries to Berrick Barnes and Rob Horne.

But Elsom was adamant injuries had not devalued the worth of this latest Anglo-Australian clash.

"Pretty well every team has a lot of games without players they would like to have in there," he said.

"The fact is they are representing England and we are representing Australia. It is not about who you could have had but who you have on the day," Elsom insisted.

Saturday sees Australia begin their bid to become only the second Wallaby team after the celebrated 1984 side to complete a 'grand slam' of wins over the four Home Nations - England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales - on the one tour.