Alaalatoa eyes off return date as he reflects on 'special' injury opportunity

Thu, Feb 15, 2024, 2:44 AM
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson
Safeguard Global ACT Brumbies captain Allan Alaalatoa spoke to media at the Club's 2024 ACT Brumbies Super Rugby Season Launch

Wallabies prop Allan Alaalatoa is hopeful of returning midway through Super Rugby Pacific as he continues his recovery from an Achilles injury.

Alaalatoa missed the Rugby World Cup after rupturing the tendon in his left knee during the first half of July's Bledisloe Cup clash at the MCG.

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The 30-year-old had only just been named captain before the nightmare setback, leaving the Wallabies distraught after the game.

“It’s going really well and tracking where we are meant to be coming back which will be towards the middle of the season," he told Rugby.com.au

“Everything has been going well and I’m in good hands with the physios at the Brumbies and I’m hoping to be back around April.

“My first emotions (when it happened) it was quite tough.

“A World Cup is something you build towards over a two year period, you work really hard to try and give yourself an opportunity to play so when I got injured, the first thought was just devastation. I was sad to rule myself out of the opportunity to go."

Allan Alaalatoa suffered a knee injury during the opening Bledisloe Cup. Photo: Getty Images
Alaalatoa suffered the knee injury during the opening Bledisloe Cup in 2023. Photo: Getty Images

Watching his chance to captain his team at a World Cup hurt Alaalatoa, having taken over from James Slipper and Michael.

However, it provided an opportunity that he was quick to seize.

“When I came home to my newborn twins, it gave me a whole new perspective and helped me manage the rehab part when I couldn’t get around or I was on the scooter. Having my family there with me, it’s probably something I took for granted when I’m actually at work because when you are playing you travel a lot and you’re hardly ever home," he explained

“So to be home throughout over the last six or so months and to see my boys and my daughter grow has been so awesome. 

“It’s been very special, I’ve focused a lot on just being present. I’d always used to come home for a couple of days and see my family and even though you’re home, you’re not really there, you’re focused on how you can get better and what the team need from a leader's perspective.

“For me to have no Rugby commitment, the boys are over there playing and I have no commitment, I could solely put my focus on family and that was massive. You’re making breakfast, changing nappies, putting them to bed. It’s the things I can only do for a couple of days or when you’re home for Super Rugby so I was really grateful.”

The Brumbies will head into the season as one of the favourites after retaining the core of their 2023 squad which just missed out on the Final.

Only Nic White and Pete Samu have left the side that went down to the Chiefs in the semi-finals, with the likes of Australia A captain Ryan Lonergan and breakout star Tom Hooper ready to take their places.

“I think from us as a playing group there’s always that competitive edge,” Alaalatoa added as part of the launch.

“Even around the environment, there are boys generally competing for spots and to be better than the day before.

“I think what pairs up nicely is we’ve been coached by some world class coaches who focus hard on the small aspects of the game and continue to get the best out of us as players.”

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