Alaalatoa keen to stay and ‘fight it out’ in Australia

FILE PHOTO: Australia's Allan Alaalatoa during the press conference in Sapporo, Japan, September 19, 2019. REUTERS/Peter Cziborra

(Reuters) – Wallabies and Brumbies prop Allan Alaalatoa says he will stay and “fight it out” in Australian rugby despite the uncertainty and financial issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rugby Australia (RA) implemented a 60% pay cut for players earlier this year after tense negotiations with the Rugby Union Players’ Association as the coronavirus shutdown exacerbated the governing body’s financial woes.

“I’ve totally focused everything on this year, just making sure I do everything I can for this franchise because I’m really unsure of what next year holds but that’s for a lot of players,” Alaalatoa told reporters.

“For me, I’ve inked my deal until 2023 I think it is so my plans are to stay here and fight it out and to help Australian rugby get back to where it was both at the Brumbies and at the Wallaby level.”

Alaalatoa, who returned to squad training with the Brumbies this week, said there were plenty of reasons to be optimistic.

“I think that’s definitely the feeling I’m picking up here but everyone’s human … you’ve just got to take everything into consideration,” Alaalatoa said.

“To come in this week, you can really feel the connection especially throughout this tough time … when our culture’s going to be tested.”

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