The Wallabies Star With 14 Letters In His Name, Seven Of Them 'A'
The Wallabies take on the All Blacks In Perth this weekend, and one selection should help.
It's the recall of Allan Alaalatoa, the prop who last played for the national side in 2018, and who has been rewarded for a stellar season with the Brumbies, who again were the best-performed Aussie Super Rugby outfit, making the semis.
In a World Cup year, Alaalatoa's Bledisloe Cup selection means he could be the second member of his family to play in the Rugby World Cup, which is just 40 days away.
His dad Vili played for Samoa in 1991 -- the year Australia won its first Cup. And get this: Vili was a big fan of former Aussie cricket captain Allan Border, hence his son's name.
There are even rumours that the Allan is called "Captain Grumpy" in rugby dressing rooms -- Border's old nickname.
"The front row are known for smashing the buffet before and after games, but he's the right man to smash the All Blacks pack," Matt Burke, expert commentator on Network 10's coverage, told 10 daily of Alaalatoa's selection.
Alaalatoa, 25, is one of four changes to Wallabies coach Michael Cheika's starting 15 ahead of Saturday night’s opening Bledisloe Cup clash at Optus Stadium in Perth, which you can watch live and free on Network 10.
The other notable selection is that of James O'Connor, the reformed rugby bad boy who returned against Argentina last week off the bench, having been out of the national side since 2013. He will start at outside centre.
Meanwhile the Perth public has rallied around the men in gold, with a sell-out crowd of over 60,000 predicted for Optus Stadium for the first ever Bledisloe Cup game in the west.
After the public outcry over the axing of Perth-based Super Rugby team the Western Force in 2017, it's yet another sign that the WA public has a hunger for top-level rugby.
Here's hoping the large vocal crowd gives the Wallabies a boost. Need we remind you that the Bledisloe Cup has remained in Kiwi hands since 2002 when none other than our own Matt Burke kicked the Wallabies to victory?
"The Wallabies scrum and lineout both worked well last week against Argentina. We're a chance if they repeat that effort," Burke said.
"As every back knows, doing the hard yards up front is where you win the game."
Very generous of you, Matt. We're almost convinced you were being genuine.
The full Qantas Wallabies team to play New Zealand at Optus Stadium, Perth on Saturday 10 August, 5.45pm AWST (7:45 pm AEST) is:
1. Scott Sio (56 Tests) 2. Tolu Latu (13 Tests) 3. Allan Alaalatoa (32 Tests) 4. Izack Rodda (19 Tests) 5. Rory Arnold (21 Tests) 6. Lukhan Salakaia-Loto (13 Tests) 7. Michael Hooper (c) (93 Tests) 8. Isi Naisarani (2 Tests) 9. Nic White (24 Tests) 10. Christian Lealiifano (20 Tests) 11. Marika Koroibete (21 Tests) 12. Samu Kerevi (vc) (27 Tests) 13. James O’Connor (45 Tests) 14. Reece Hodge (35 Tests) 15. Kurtley Beale (85 Tests)
Reserves 16. Folau Fainga’a (9 Tests) 17. James Slipper (88 Tests) 18. Taniela Tupou (13 Tests) 19. Adam Coleman (31 Tests) 20. Luke Jones (4 Tests) 21. Will Genia (102 Tests) 22. Matt To’omua (44 Tests) 23. Tom Banks (4 Tests)
Network 10 will broadcast the game live and free across Australia, with coverage starting at 7:00 pm in the eastern states.