Rocky Elsom.
Rocky Elsom. SMP Images - Geoff Jones

Elsom signs two-year deal

WALLABY flanker Rocky Elsom will return to the NSW Waratahs next season after agreeing a two-year deal with the Super 15 franchise and the Australian Rugby Union.

Elsom appeared in the sky blue jersey in 66 matches between 2003 and 2008, including two Super Rugby Finals, before heading to Europe where he won the Heineken Cup with Leinster in 2009.

Elsom returned to Australia for the 2010 season - linking with the ACT Brumbies - and quickly grabbed the Wallabies captaincy.

Waratahs coach Michael Foley said the recruitment of Elsom underlined the franchise's efforts to capture the cream of Australia's rugby stocks.

"When you're recruiting you're always looking for the best players to fill vacancies in your squad and when Rocky came off contact we knew he was the best person to fill that back row place we had available," said Foley.

"Rocky's a very special player; he has a great skill set and when he's at his best there's no doubt that he's one of the leading backrowers in the world.

"The fact that he has played at a number of teams now and decided to return to NSW shows he has a lot of belief in where this squad can go in the next couple of years.

"Most of our starting players have been involved in the national program so there won't be any problem with Rocky slotting straight back into the squad and as someone who has captained Australia we'll be looking to him to bring those leadership skills to the team."