In the wake of Michael Hooper’s calf injury, Alaalatoa took the reins as co-captain in the latest outing while James Slipper shared captaincy off the bench.
The star prop suffered the heart-breaking injury just shy of half-time. It’s expected that will rule him out of the Rugby World Cup in France.
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As a result, Tom Lambert and Zane Nonggor will join the Wallabies fold for the final Bledisloe Cup clash against New Zealand in Dunedin.
Hooper injured his calf in the Rugby Championship opener against the Springboks and has been absent since.
Despite optimism he would be fit to play the first leg of the Bledisloe Cup, the flanker was not selected for the clash with the All Blacks.
Following their loss to New Zealand, Australia head coach Eddie Jones confirmed Hooper would not be available for the forthcoming contest in Dunedin.
“No, he’s a long way away, mate,” he said when asked about Hooper’s prognosis.
“We’ll have to wait and see.”
With the Rugby World Cup just 40 days away, Jones wouldn’t be drawn on hypotheticals and where Hooper might fit into the picture.
“I’ll worry about that when we come up to World Cup selection,” he said.
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“I’m saying that he’s got a serious injury and when you’ve got a serious injury there are deadlines and we need to find the deadline.
“When you’ve got a calf injury, sometimes you don’t know how quickly you can recover.
“Sam Kerr is playing on Monday! How fit she is? I don’t know.”
With the star prop out of action for the second Bledisloe Cup contest and Hooper also unavailable, a new co-captain is all but a given to share duties with Slipper.
“He’s got a fairly serious injury, I would suggest,” said Jones of Alaalatoa after Saturday’s loss.
Alaalatoa isn’t the only player on injury watch with Taniela Tupou suffering an undetermined rib injury in the latest encounter.
“When it rains it pours mate,” said Jones.
“So we’ve obviously got Slips, (he) can play that side. (Zane) Nonggorr we’ve had in the squad and (Sam) Talakai, guys that can play there.”
‘Let down Eddie, let down Australia’
In any case, it’s a brutal blow to the Wallabies’ morale amid a three-game losing streak with Jones at the helm.
Prompted on what his message was to Wallabies fans, Jones replied, “Where there’s life, there’s hope, mate.
“Look, I’ve coached teams like this before and you can turn it around. I saw enough (on Saturday) there to know that we can be a bloody good team,” he said.
“It doesn’t look like it at the moment. You’re thinking, ‘Shit, what’s this bloke talking about?’ but I’m telling you boys, we can turn it around and be a very good team.
“For the fans, they’ve got to keep being hopeful. Keep praying. Whatever god they’ve got, keep praying to that we turn it around. We will. We will. Don’t worry, we will.”
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