Allan Alaalatoa says splitting even game time with fellow bull Taniela Tupou is a “huge positive” for the Wallabies as they ramp up preparations for Saturday’s must-win Bledisloe Cup test in Sydney.
Rather than Australia’s top tightheads tussling for minutes, Alaalatoa says he and Tupou have an “understanding” that sharing the load is the best thing for the team.
In the 27-7 loss to New Zealand in the second test in Auckland they played a half each, while Tupou got marginally more time in the opening 16-16 draw in Wellington.
The tactic, introduced by new coach Dave Rennie, has Alaalatoa’s backing and “trust” ahead of the ANZ Stadium match.
“We’re both used to playing 80 minutes of Super Rugby so to be able to share the workload has been awesome for us,” Alaalatoa said on Tuesday.
“We have the understanding that we may only get 40 so you empty the tank.
“I think that’s going to be the best for the team to try get more efforts out of us in a short amount of time.
“Both of us offer different skill sets but I think it’s a huge positive for the team.”
Brumbies skipper Alaalatoa says the teammates try to challenge each other at training, with fellow tighthead props Pone Fa’amausili and Jermaine Ainsley also pushing their case.
The Wallabies tasted rare success over the All Blacks on home turf last year in Perth when they posted a memorable 47-26 victory.
Needing a win to take the Bledisloe to a deciding fourth test in Brisbane next month, Alaalatoa said they needed to draw from the home crowd as they did in Perth.
Wallabies stars have responded to a column that claimed the Aussies are lacking "genuine hard men" after the All Blacks' dominant victory in the second Bledisloe Cup test at Eden Park. #BledisloeCup #NZLvAUS https://t.co/WpePNFD9jd
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) October 26, 2020
“Thinking back to that game we had a great start,” he said.
“The intent was there from the warm-up and it carried through to the game.
“A lot of that comes down to the energy and emotion that poured out from our fans and that’s going be the excitement of running out at ANZ.”
The Wallabies are expecting the All Blacks to again try to unsettle them with more niggle from their hooker Dane Coles.
The wily veteran tried to ruffle Tupou’s feathers early on and also went out of his way to have a post-try dig at lock Lukhan Salakaia-Loto.
“I just remember Dane Coles running about 50 metres after they scored to pat me on the back and I found that pretty funny,” Salakaia-Loto said.
“Wherever you play and whoever you play, you’re always going to have players or come across packs who try to get under your skin.
“I’m sure he’ll have a few lines up his sleeve this week.”
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