Wallaby ready to 'rip in' with Australian pride on the line
A hip injury means White hasn’t played since the heart-stopping Super Rugby AU final loss to Queensland and Brumbies skipper Allan Alaalatoa said the Wallabies veteran had been a needle in the side at training, and he hoped he would prove similar for the Blues.
“He’s one of our leaders and while he hasn’t been on the field he’s definitely been driving the standards off the field,” said Alaalatoa, who will play his 100th Super Rugby match.
“He’s been helping out the coaching staff in terms of watching vision and putting plays together and making sure he’s holding everyone accountable.
“He’s been struggling watching and he’s keen to rip in.”
No Australian team has beaten a Kiwi opponent in the opening two rounds, with other Saturday matches seeing the NSW War atahs host the Crusaders in Wollongong and the Reds taking on the Chiefs in Townsville.
Given that record, it is set to be an all-New Zealand final but Alaalatoa said there was still plenty at stake for Australian teams.
After a two-point loss to the NZ title-winning Crusaders, the Brumbies were outplayed by the Chiefs 40-19 last round.
“It’s been disappointing … it’s about earning that respect,” the Wallabies prop said.
“The week had been great and the boys have prepared really well but it’s all about delivering that on Saturday at Eden Park.”
Australian champions Queensland were embarrassed by the Crusaders with a 63-28 scoreline so will be looking to rebound against the Chiefs, who were beaten finalists.
Chiefs captain Brad Weber said he expected the Reds to be hurting.
“No doubt Thorny (Queensland coach Brad Thorn) will be into them all week, particularly last week and they will be keen to rectify that,” Weber said on Friday.
“We know we’ve got to come out firing and not let them get a roll-on so we’ve got our work cut out for us.
“We’re pretty keen to win this competition so it’s really crucial for us.”
The Waratahs are coming off a loss to the Blues and are trying to avoid a winless season.
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