New Leader Chosen to Inspire the Wallabies; Horwill Replaces Dumped Elsom as Skipper

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ROBBIE Deans produced the biggest selection shock in Australia's Rugby World Cup history by stripping Rocky Elsom of the captaincy yesterday but there could be no safer bet.

Upstanding citizen, in-form lock, Queensland Rugby Union board member and proven leader James Horwill is Elsom's replacement as Wallabies skipper.

No one has embodied areliabilitya better than the 26-year-old Queenslander who took the Reds to the Super Rugby championship last month.

There are no off-field concerns regarding Elsom but, after failing to fire in an injury-plagued season, he could no longer guarantee his selection in the Test XV.

Certainly not like Horwill, nicknamed Big Kev from aI'm exciteda TV commercial fame.

Reserve flanker Scott Higginbotham has made a major impact off the bench to pressure Elsom, who is also off-contract and without a home at any of Australia's five Super Rugby franchises next year.

There have been doubts over his ability to produce his best since April when Wallabies great Tim Horan called for Horwill or Will Genia to be made captain to allow Elsom, one of the world's most destructive players at his best, to focus on finding top form.

That's what Deans has done a bare three weeks before the World Cup kicks off in New Zealand a with the hope positive change will inspire his side. …