The Roar
The Roar


'I noticed it': Why Eddie could still play a part in Aussie rugby's turnaround - and the 'hard conversations' driving Brumbies

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14th February, 2024
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Eddie Jones’ reputation is currently trash in Australian rugby, but Test prop Allan Alaalatoa admits the former Wallabies mentor could still play a part in the country’s turnaround on the field, including with the Brumbies.

Jones is set to be the protagonist in Stan’s upcoming documentary into the Wallabies 2023, which premieres on 22nd February, and the former national coach is understood to have questioned the “hardness” of Australian rugby towards the end of their failed World Cup campaign.

Alaalatoa missed the World Cup campaign because of a ruptured Achilles against the All Blacks in late July, but the Test captain said Jones had clearly identified examples in Australian rugby that needed to change for the respective teams to emerge as winners once more.

“It is a shift we can make as a team at the Brumbies but also as a country,” Alaalatoa told The Roar at the Super Rugby Pacific launch in Auckland on Wednesday.

“Eddie did come in and said the boys are used to losing and that was shown through early Test matches through little body language cues.

“Someone made a linebreak and he would show people not working hard enough to get back, and he said that was a habit of being part of a losing team.”

Allan Alaalatoa of the Wallabies looks on during the The Rugby Championship & Bledisloe Cup match between the Australia Wallabies and the New Zealand All Blacks at Melbourne Cricket Ground on July 29, 2023 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Allan Alaalatoa says Australian rugby needs to demand greater standards and accountability. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Asked whether he thought Jones had a point, Alaalatoa said the proof was in the pudding.


“I noticed it,” he said.

“That was something that brought some awareness to little things like that. It wasn’t happening all the time, but it was a point that Eddie was trying to emphasise with the group that we had a new shift to make.

“Recovering from errors was a big one. That was something I took from Eddie and I’m taking to the Brumbies.”

Alaalatoa’s devastating injury will see him miss at least the first month of the upcoming Super Rugby season, but he said the playing group had emerged hungrier than ever to turn the ship at the Brumbies.

In particular, Alaalatoa said the Brumbies were sick of being the bridesmaids of the competition and admitted there was more they could do to snap their reputation as perennial semi-finalists.

“If we’re going off the back of last year, what I’ve noticed of the boys, and the way they’ve turned up, I’d say hunger,” Alaalatoa said.


“Hunger to do better and hunger to be better as players.

“We get to represent our state and we’ve had some hard conversations and acknowledged what we’ve been doing is obviously not good enough.

“We’ve got a lot of boys from the World Cup who have a point to prove. Some experienced players, who didn’t get selected, have come back with a point to prove and had that edge throughout the October period heading into December.

“Some boys who went over to the World Cup have come back wanting more.

“We’ve spoken about as a club that we’ve been good for a number of years but haven’t won a Super Rugby title.

“We had to have some hard conversations and take a deep dive into the program, and how we’re playing and tried to think of ways of how we can make some shifts in order to head in that direction.”

Allan Alaalatoa says he’s sick of the Brumbies being competitive but not winning the Super Rugby competition. (Photo by Dave Rowland/Getty Images for Rugby Australia)


Alaalatoa said holding players to account was essential.

“It was more from my end having an understanding of what we were doing,” he said. “We thought it would be good enough to [win].

“Just little conversations in and around the team, leaders and players holding each other to count. Just little things that we do that in the past we may have looked past and accepted, which wasn’t good enough.”

The Brumbies have missed the finals just once since 2013, with the two-time Super Rugby champions only failing to qualify for the knockout stage in Dan McKellar’s first season in charge in 2018.

They have made the semi-finals in the past two seasons, including in Stephen Larkham’s return to the head coaching role last year where they narrowly went down to the Chiefs in Waikato.