Hanigan, Alaalatoa aiming for Melbourne returns

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

The Wallabies’ 'Test match Tuesday' training is exactly that for backrower Ned Hanigan, who is hoping to return from a knee injury in the second Ireland Test.

Hanigan, who hurt his knee playing for the Waratahs, faced his first major contact test in the Wallabies’ toughest session of the week, needing to make it through unscathed to be considered for selection.

“I'm going to try and push for Saturday, today's probably the tester,” he said before the session.

“If it holds up today, then it's just going to get better throughout the week, so obviously the day off tomorrow, so if it pulls through today it should be alright to get fully into it on Thursday and be eligible for selection.”

David Pocock, Michael Hooper and Caleb Timu started for the Wallabies last weekend. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart WalmsleThe Waratahs forward said there were no bittersweet feelings watching his teammates beat Ireland in Brisbane, pleased to have surprised a few spectators in halting Ireland’s 12-match winning streak.

“Even though you're not playing, you still feel as though you're part of it, so I think it was more you felt happy for, instead of being in amongst it,” he said.

“On the bench, bloody living every moment with them, just not going through the sweats.

“It was good to see the lads get up, especially in a game like that, where if you're not in amongst this group you probably think we're going to lose.

“So, to come out and rattle the cage a bit, makes this second Test all the better.”

It’s not going to be easy for Hanigan to break back into the 23, with the Wallabies backrow influential in Brisbane, but he said he would relish the challenge.

“You're happy for those blokes and you're looking forward to watch them go out again this weekend and perform but if you ever get the opportunity to put your hand up, you can grab it with both hands,” he said.

Allan Alaalatoa has been ruled out of the first Test. Photo: RUGBY.com.au/Stuart WalmsleyMeanwhile, prop Allan Alaalatoa is being cautious in his comeback from an ankle sprain, that forced him out on the eve of the first Test.

Alaalatoa sprained his ankle last Thursday, after a teammate fell on the joint in lineout training, and was doing boxing and core work separately to the main group on Tuesday, after sitting out Monday’s session.

Despite that, he is hopeful of being fit for the second Test, with his injury a ‘day-by-day’ proposition.

“Hopefully get it right and then by the end of this week, not too sure, just got to see how it pulls up day by day and not running at the moment, so we'll just see how it goes,” he said.

"Did some weights (yesterday), but I wasn't able to do that clarity run, so just waiting for the physio to give me the nod just to see how it goes.”

The Wallabies take on Ireland in their second June Series Test on Saturday June 16, kicking off at 8:065pm AEST, LIVE on FOX SPORTS, Channel Ten and via RUGBY.com.au RADIO. Buy tickets here.