Elsom & Giteau expecting a bruising clash against Ireland

Leinster-bound Australia flanker Rocky Elsom (pictured) is anticipating a bruising encounter when they take on Ireland in Melbourne on Saturday.


The Waratahs flanker is expected to join up with Michael Cheika’s squad next season, believes Ireland’s strength is in their Munster dominated pack and not their predominantly Leinster based backline.


The Wallabies were impressed with Ireland’s willingness to meet the physicality of New Zealand head on in Wellington last weekend, despite the All Blacks emerging 21-11 winners.


“I thought the forwards had a really strong game. I think their forward pack led by (Paul) O’Connell has been their strength for a while,” Elsom said in the Irish Times today.


“They’ve definitely got some sharp backs but their forwards are what are winning the games more often than not.


“Very physical, that’s the style they go with. We’d expect nothing less.”


Western Force playmaker Matt Giteau is also expecting a fiery clash but says that the aerial assault deployed by Ireland against the Kiwis may not be on show at Melbourne’s indoor stadium.


“We couldn’t take too much out of the New Zealand game because it was so wet,” Giteau said.


“It was always going to be a tactical game, a lot of kicking, they like to kick the ball a fair bit.


“But they do have their strike weapons out there. (Brian) O’Driscoll in the centres, the new full-back they’ve got (Rob Kearney) and also (Shane) Horgan on the wing.


“They still have their strike players if they want to throw the ball around. By no means are we expecting them just to kick, they are going to come out and they are going to attack.”


The Irish team was announced today with experienced scrumhalf Peter Stringer and hooker Rory Best replacing Eoin Reddan and Jerry Flannery respectively.


Deans will announce his first Test side tomorrow with rookie Luke Burgess tipped to partner Giteau at half-back after the pair trained together.


Western Force’s Giteau believes Burgess has what it takes at this level.


“I think he threatens the line well. He’s obviously a very good runner with the ball. He’s quick, (provides) good service, I think he’s got everything a half-back needs to have,” Giteau said of Burgess.


“Obviously he doesn’t have that experience because he has only just started playing Super 14, but I think he has shown that he has enough belief and confidence in himself to be able to handle any level.


“He definitely suits my style of game because he threatens the line and I think if he has those people getting in tighter it opens up a bit more space for me a bit wider.”

 

Rugbyweek.com

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