The Sydney crowd doesn’t faze the Brumbies

A Sydney crowd doesn’t faze Allan Alaalatoa and his Brumbies as they kick off their Super Rugby Pacific campaign against their biggest rivals.

The Brumbies head to the new Allianz Stadium for the first time and take on the NSW Waratahs on Friday night, expecting a hostile environment and looking to reassert themselves as the best club team in the country.

For Alaalatoa, that means excitement rather than intimidation, saying it’s the latest symptom of the buzz around. rugby in Australia for the World Cup in September.

“It’s everywhere … and that’s amazing,” he said.

“As players, we want to perform in front of full stadiums, and we’re looking forward to it.

“We’ve got to expect a big crowd. For some of our younger guys it’s going to be awesome, and for some of the older guys as well.”

As for rivalries, it’s been one-sided in recent times, with the Brumbies on a nine-game winning streak against the Tahs dating back to 2018, the last year NSW played at the Allianz.

Waratahs fullback and former title-winning captain Michael Hooper says playing in his spiritual home feels like a huge advantage.

“It was exciting at the time (to play somewhere else),” Hooper said.

“(We had) the opportunity to take the game to different places, but it’s difficult because of the time we ended up doing it.

“On a personal and performance level, you get used to a good routine, and that is the advantage as a local.

“You can wake up in the same bed, eat similar food and go about your routine before going up to the stadium, and it feels good.

“Every week was different for us and that made it a challenge. It was an away game every week.

“Yes, we got to see different parts of NSW and be in front of different fans, and hopefully those places can come back to Paddington and the SFS (Sydney Football Stadium).

“But to have a home and create that feeling, especially for the guys who haven’t had it in this group, it’s exciting and it’s really something to build on.”

The Brumbies could be excused for looking past the Waratahs for their second-round blockbuster against the Blues as they seek revenge for last year’s heartbreaking 20-19 semi-final loss in Auckland.

But Alaalatoa says being able to match it with the New Zealand-based teams is starting to take care of business on home soil.

“Being consistent is very important, not only against the Kiwis but also this weekend,” he said.

“The way you look at it as a player is to strip all that away and focus on your day-to-day, making sure you get the non-negotiables right and not just focus on the Kiwi teams.

“There’s been a lot of build-up around the Tahs and what they’re doing. The amount of experience they’ve recruited, they’re doing really well, and that’s our whole focus right now.”

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