VIDEO: Alaalatoa warns Australia of complacency
SPOTLIGHT: Prop Allan Alaalatoa said Wednesday that an outpouring of support in Australia had buoyed the Wallabies after last weekend’s thrilling Bledisloe Cup draw in Wellington.
But Alaalatoa said the players were still “frustrated” at the result and intent on improving for the second Test in Auckland on Sunday.
“I think the best thing about last weekend was seeing everyone’s reaction back home,” he told reporters.
“When you’re playing away you kind of forget about all the support you have back home, so that’s been great for us.”
The Wallabies went into the Wellington match as underdogs but came within the width of a goalpost of recording a major upset to mark new coach Dave Rennie’s first match in charge.
The morale-boosting 16-16 result follows a torrid time both on and off the field for Australian rugby.
The Wallabies slumped to seventh in the rankings after a disappointing World Cup campaign, senior figures left acrimoniously and there was a protracted legal dispute after Israel Folau’s sacking for his controversial social media posts.
But the Wallabies will be aware that other recent strong displays against the All Blacks were followed by crashing defeats, including a 0-36 shutout at Eden Park last year after a 26-47 win in Perth.
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Alaalatoa said there would be no complacency in the Australian camp as the New Zealanders seek to assert dominance at Eden Park, where the Wallabies have not won since 1986.
Despite the plaudits from home, Alaalatoa rated Australia’s performance in Wellington only a six out of 10, saying Rennie’s men had been hurt around the breakdown and set-piece.
“A lot of the boys are disappointed we didn’t come away with a win – we have ourselves a lot of opportunities to win but just didn’t execute,” he said.
“That attitude has carried into this week, understanding how we can be better and getting our preparation right.”