The Brumbies are poised to deliver another major blow to their local Super 14 rivals by picking up star flanker Rocky Elsom on his return to Australia.
Despite being offered as much as an extra $100,000 to join the Queensland Reds, it is understood Elsom has agreed to join the Brumbies in the hunt for a Super 14 title to add to the Heineken Cup he won with Leinster at the weekend.
The 26-year-old was being chased by the Reds and former province New South Wales, but contacted Brumbies officials last week and agreed to terms.
Elsom has already done the same with the ARU and is expected to finalise his future late this week.
The signing of Elsom will see the Brumbies boast a spectacular stable of talent next season, with Matt Giteau, George Smith and the big blindside breakaway comfortably ranked the top three rugby stars in Australia.
Throw in Australia captain Stirling Mortlock and hooker Stephen Moore - and potentially James O'Connor - and the 2010 Brumbies loom as a powerhouse.
Since Elsom departed for Europe at the end of the Tri Nations campaign last September, the No.6 has become arguably the best player in the world and has won 11 man-of-the-match awards in 13 games for Leinster.
Brumbies boss Andrew Fagan was non-committal on Elsom's recruitment but confirmed contact had been renewed by the flanker recently.
"He checked to confirm whether a position was available basically. How our contracting was going. That was it," Fagan said.
"We let him know that we'd have a spot available if he was keen to look at us as an option. I wouldn't really know which way he is leaning. Rocky understands he has some choice there."
Fagan still declared the Brumbies "outsiders" to get Elsom's signature down on paper, but only one thing could imperil the deal: Phil Waugh.
Waugh landed in London last night to link up with Elsom in the Barbarians side to play England this weekend.
He'll talk with his former Tahs' teammate about returning.
"Rocky is a mate of mine, I hope he comes back," Waugh said.http://www.foxsports.com.au/story/0,8659,25537330-5002381,00.html