Wallabies wary of Scottish pack with point to prove

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

The Wallabies are preparing for a Scotland forward pack with a point to prove on Saturday and tighthead Allan Alaalatoa says there’s only one way to topple them.

“We just have to go back at them” he said.

“We see our set piece, we're trying to go towards the best in the world.

“The more we can aim to do that here at training, then we're only going to bring the best out of us on Saturday.”

Alaalatoa's form has forced veteran Sekope Kepu out of the starting Wallabies side, a long journey from a 2016 rookie who was almost scared to approach his childhood idol.

“This time last year I wasn't playing, I just came in as a reserve prop and it was a huge learning phase for me last year,” he said.

“At first I was kind of stand offish with him because I've always looked up to him as a player, growing up and watching him play for the Waratahs and stuff and he's always been around as a veteran.

“So for me now just to go up to him and feel comfortable to ask him about little issues that I'm having in the paddock, he's huge for me as a young player growing up.

“The more I can build that connection with Keps, i can feel like I'm comfortable to go to him, even ask him when I'm having problems.

“He's someone that will always help me no matter what, whether I'm starting or he's starting and just to have that relationship with him just really shows the bond in the team and we're all putting the team first.”

Scotland’s forward pack will be at pretty much full strength, with an injury to usual starting lock Richie Gray the only big-name absence.

Sekope Kepu has been a strong mentor for Alaalatoa. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart WalmsleyAlaalatoa said he was surprised there weren't more Scots in the four-nation squad, but that only made their challenge more enticing in Sydney.

“I thought some of them would've gotten the nod but I'm not in any place to select the Lions team,” he said.

“In saying that it shows they're going to bring a quality side this weekend.”

Though they’ve missed out on the initial squad, the chance for a Lions call-up will be on the minds of those Scottish forwards when they pack down on Saturday.

“There's always going to be guys disappointed and from a personal point of view it would've been great for a couple more guys to make it because you invest a lot,” Scotland defence coach Matt Taylor said. 

“With the amount of games the Lions are playing , I wouldn't be surprised if in the next week or two, guys are brought in.

“You certainly think from some of the guys on the weekend that's certainly something which I think will happen in the next week or two.”

The Wallabies take on Scotland on Saturday, kicking off at 3pm AEST LIVE on FOX SPORTS and via RUGBY.com.au RADIO. Buy tickets here.