England warned over new Aussie star Alaalatoa
ENGLAND’S front row must brace for a torrid time from up and coming Wallabies tight-head Allan Alaalatoa at Twickenham this Saturday, according to the 20 stone (127kgs) prop’s ex-Brumbies teammate Michael Dowsett.
Australia were whitewashed 3-0 by England in 2016, but Alaalatoa was blooded in the wake of that disastrous hiding and has played a significant role in a Wallabies recovery that culminated in last month’s 23-18 win over New Zealand.
Scrum-half Dowsett, now playing for Worcester, said: “England will be hard to beat at Twickenham but the boys will be fired-up to avenge last year and Allan Alaalatoa is someone who can make a real impact.
“He’s in the process of nailing down that tighthead spot after switching sides and he’s a fantastic player, not only as a great scrummager but as one of the best ball-carrying front rowers I’ve seen in Super Rugby or for Australia.
“His old man, Vili, played prop for Samoa at the 1991 World Cup and Allan’s not your typical gun forward. He reads the game well, has unbelievable mobility for someone so big and he’ll tackle and carry all day.
“Australia’s scrum was seen as ordinary last year but with him and Scot Sio propping they’re nobody’s pushovers now. Michael Cheika’s really firmed that area up and England will make a poor decision to underestimate them.”
Dowsett, 25, rates the introduction of legendary Aussie fly-half Stephen Larkham as backs coach as another inspired move on the road to redemption.
“I spent three years at the Brumbies working with Stephen and he has a special rugby brain,” Dowsett said.
“There aren’t many like him and you’ve only got to look at the way he played to see what his philosophy is going to be.
“He won’t neglect defence, but he likes to promote the attacking side and I really enjoyed being coached by him. The natural cycle will see him take the top job eventually, although Michael Cheika’s doing pretty well now.”