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Wallaby Allan Alaalatoa ‘ready to go’ against South Africa

By AAP
(Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Allan Alaalatoa is set to add some much-needed experience to the Wallabies pack after declaring himself fit for the daunting task of facing South Africa in Pretoria to open their Rugby Championship campaign.

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The tighthead prop missed the Brumbies’ Super Rugby Pacific semi-final loss to the Chiefs last month with a calf injury but the 29-year-old said there were no lingering issues ahead of the Test on Saturday (local time).

The match will be the first under returning Wallabies coach Eddie Jones.

“It’s going really well; I’m in a good place at the moment,” Alaalatoa said from their training base in Johannesburg.

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“I’ve come into camp last week and I’ve done all the training so I’ve been ticking all the boxes and if selected I’ll be ready to go on the weekend.”

Alaalatoa said fellow props Taniela Tupou, who is returning from an Achilles injury, and also Angus Bell (toe) looked like they would be in the selection mix to tackle the Springboks formidable scrum.

“Those two have been unreal,” Alaalatoa said.

“They’ve been running amok at training with their ball carries and you can tell they’ve had itchy feet to play.

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“They’ve been involved in live scrums as well so they’ve been ticking all the boxes so far.”

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Just seven of the 34-strong touring squad, as well as centre Samu Kerevi, who has travelled to Pretoria in the rehab group, were part of Australia’s last Test in South Africa in 2019.

Alaalatoa, Michael Hooper, Taniela Tupou and Jordan Uelese remain from the forwards, with the Wallabies losing that Johannesburg Test 35-17.

Some of the current crop have never previously even been to South Africa, given the country’s split from Super Rugby when the 2020 season was abandoned after seven weeks due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

It makes the task of breaking through for their first ever win at Loftus Versfeld even more difficult.

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But 64-Test Alaalatoa said the senior players had addressed the enormity of the challenge and excitement was the predominant feeling amongst the players.

“It’s a great challenge, it’s something that we’re all excited by,” he said.

“Being a part of the first team to beat South Africa in Pretoria, that would be awesome and a memory that we will remember forever.

“We’ve spoken about that, having that belief, and what underlines that is making sure that we’re doing everything necessary through our day to day and getting our process right throughout the week.

“The connection between the players and the coaching staff has been awesome so we’re in a good state.”

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