JOHANNESBURG: The ACT Brumbies have locked up their core Wallabies and now they’re investing in the club’s long-term future.
The Brumbies have signed Australian under-20s duo Allan Alaalatoa and Tom Staniforth for the next two Super Rugby seasons.
It continues the club’s signing blitz over the past two weeks, which has resulted in Matt Toomua, Nic White, Christian Lealiifano, Scott Fardy and Jesse Mogg recommitting to the club.
Alaalatoa and Staniforth don’t command the same salaries or have the same profile, but the Brumbies believe they can be part of an era of Super Rugby success.
Staniforth made his Super Rugby debut last month, while Alaalatoa is in South Africa trying to earn his first cap on the two- game tour. They will be part of the Australian under-20s junior World Cup campaign next month and Brumbies director of rugby Laurie Fisher said they were two of the best forwards going around.
“It’s a view to the future. I look at them and I see an incredible amount of growth in their game,” he said. “They’re both hungry. I couldn’t have asked them to work any harder and sure they’ve got a long way to go, but they’ve shown a genuine desire to go as far as they can.
“The under-20s is a solid breeding ground. I genuinely think Allan can put his toe in at this level.
“When Tommy started us with us last year, he was a real kid. He was technically terrible in every aspect, but he had the hunger and he really wanted it.”
Alaalatoa grew up around the corner from Brumbies prop Scott Sio, and their dads played for Samoa at the 1991 World Cup.
Alaalatoa, 20, hopes he gets a chance to join Sio in the Brumbies’ starting front row to prove he’s ready for Super Rugby. He has been in the Australian under-20s team for the past two years and will go straight into camp when the Brumbies end their South African trip.
“I just want to get my experience and if I get a cap when I’m here in South Africa that is just a bonus,” he said. “For me as a developing prop, Laurie Fisher is the best guy to learn off and to work with Stephen Moore, Ben Alexander and Scott is exciting for me.
“I wouldn’t have signed up for the next two years if I wasn’t comfortable here, the Brumbies are like a family and a group of brothers.''
The Brumbies are still working on recruitment and retention, and flanker Jarrad Butler and Henry Speight are close to new deals.
The Brumbies will make minimal changes to their line-up to play the Cheetahs on Sunday morning (Australian time).
Speight replaces Joseph Tomane in the starting XV, while lock Leon Power and JP Smith have been added to the bench.
Brumbies: 1. Scott Sio, 2. Stephen Moore, 3. Ben Alexander, 4. Scott Fardy, 5. Sam Carter, 6. Fotu Auelua, 7. Jarrad Butler, 8. Ben Mowen, 9. Nic White, 10. Matt Toomua, 11. Robbie Coleman, 12. Christian Lealiifano, 13. Tevita Kuridrani, 14. Henry Speight, 15. Jesse Mogg. Reserves: 16. Josh Mann-Rea, 17. JP Smith, 18. Ruan Smith, 19. Leon Power, 20. Tom McVerry, 21. Conrad Hoffmann, 22. Andrew Smith, 23. Pat McCabe.