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'You just don't know': Wallaby veteran left 'shocked' by Rennie decision

By Kim Ekin
(Photo by WILLIAM WEST/AFP via Getty Images)

Wallaby and Brumbies prop Allan Alaalatoa has re-committed his future to Australian Rugby until the end of 2027 but admits he was left shocked by Rugby Australia’s decision to axe head coach Dave Rennie just eight months out from the World Cup.

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The 55 Test prop, who became a Wallabies captain under the Kiwi coach, did not expect such a swift move and his first response was to contact Rennie.

“I was quite shocked. I wasn’t expecting it and my first reaction was wondering how Dave was,” Alaalatoa told the Sydney Morning Herald.

“I sent him a message and told him that the boys respected him, for the man he was off the field and the world-class coach that he was on the field.”

Alaalatoa said that the disappointing season in 2022 hadn’t left the squad without reason to believe after a Spring tour that pushed France all the way and also came within three points of Ireland.

The Wallabies suffered an incredibly bad run of injuries that really tested their depth but they still remained competitive, finishing the year with a win over Wales in Cardiff.

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He expressed his disappointment to Rennie that he was unable to finish what he started with the playing group after three years at the helm.

“If anything at the end of last year I was just excited to get stuck into this year,” he said.

“In terms of the Spring Tour, the results didn’t go our way but we lost three of those games by a few points, and with an injury-hit list.

The Brumbies prop has not been coached by the incoming Eddie Jones which has brought an air of uncertainty around the team with no one knowing yet where they stand.

The only player to have worked under Jones is flyhalf Quade Cooper, who was at the Queensland Reds when the 62-year-old was at the club for one season.

Comments by Jones suggest Cooper is no certainty despite the Wallabies sporting a healthy win record in recent times when he has been in the side.

“That’s the vibe you get straight away, you just don’t know now, especially with a lot of the boys here now, who haven’t been coached by him before,” Alaalatoa said.

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“But what we have spoken about already is we can only control what we can control.

“If you want to be part of those discussions with Eddie you have to train well and perform well in your state union.

“So again, you will see a lift in the Super Rugby competition, and that’s awesome. That’s what you want.”

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