28 Aug 2008

Wallabies appeal Elsom suspension

7:48 am on 28 August 2008

Wallabies officials will appeal the severity of Rocky Elsom's punishment for pulling down Springboks skipper Victor Matfield in a lineout, believing it has set a big precedent for a minor offence.

Elsom was suspended for a week after a delayed decision by SANZAR disciplinary officer, the New Zealander Nick Davidson QC.

The incident drew only a penalty from the referee, New Zealand's Lyndon Bray, early in the second half of Australia's 27-15 breakthrough win in Durban.

Three SANZAR officials will hear the appeal overnight in a conference call.

The chances of Elsom being cleared to play on Sunday morning in Johannesburg are low, however.

Davidson's ruling says "any interference of this kind carries real danger and a sanction is required", although Matfield says he suffered no serious injury.

Australia hasn't won at altitude in Johannesburg in 45 years and Elsom's suspension comes on top of shoulder injuries to Dan Vickerman and Berrick Barnes, illness that has shed two kilograms from Hugh McMeniman's playing weight and reinforcement Nathan Sharpe's battle against jetlag after his late arrival.