Mental perfection required to beat All Blacks

The Rugby Championship
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Wallabies prop Allan Alaalatoa says they’ll need perfection to beat the All Blacks, as much in their mindset as anywhere else.

Alaalatoa, along with the rest of the Brumbies contingent arrived in the Wallabies’ Newcastle camp on Thursday, but that was enough to feel the levels rising, he said.

“I only came in the last two sessions and I felt I was there the whole week. For me physically it was and it was a good test for me mentally,” he said.

“When you come down to those moments and you think the training session’s over but you’ve got another fitness drill, it’s just all about pushing yourself mentally and trying to be comfortable in an uncomfortable environment.”

Alaalatoa said the Wallabies would need a near-flawless performance to topple the All Blacks in just under three weeks’ time, and that included owning the psychological aspect of the clash.

“ It’s very important for us, especially going up against the All Blacks where you need to be perfect almost to win against them,” he said.

“That  mental aspect of the game is really important and I think these training sessions are helping us build towards that, when you’re under fatigue and you try to pick yourself up to go another round and just to push yourself mentally is probably just as important as pushing yourself physically.”

Allan Alaalatoa has been one of the form Brumbies forwards. Photo: Getty ImagesAlaalatoa is one of the leaders of the next generation of Wallabies, shaping as a key pillar in the build-up to the 2019 Rugby World Cup after a breakout Super Rugby season.

Regular starts for the Brumbies and Wallabies have armed him with more confidence heading into another Test camp.

“Last year and the years before I’ve been coming off the bench so to be able to get that consistent starting spot, it’s been a huge experience for myself,” he said.

“That’s what I truly believe once you get all that game time that’s the only way you’re going to learn and adapt on the run so it’s been good.

“I think when you look around there’s a lot of young players there and we are looking to build towards that campaign.

“Obviously first and foremost to make that you have to build in little steps and this Bledisloe’s one of those steps that you need to achieve.”

The forwards battle will be critical in the opening clash and it’s the Brumbies who have provided much of the grunt from that aspect during the Super Rugby season, as well as the experience of playing finals rugby.

Lock Rory Arnold said that intensity would need to be taken up another level for the opening trans-Tasman clash, with Brodie Retallick and Sam Whitelock on the opposite side.

“We know if we want to dominate up front we’ve got to at those blokes, so we’re going to have to be at our best, the second rowers to take those blokes on.”

The Wallabies will train in state-based camps until Wednesday, before a revised 33-man squad convenes in Cessnock, in the Hunter Valley.

The opening Bledisloe is on August 19, kicking off at 8pm AEST, LIVE on FOX SPORTS and via RUGBY.com.au RADIO. Buy tickets here.

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