Crusaders block Mike Alaalatoa from joining BaaBaas match
AUSSIE-raised Crusader prop Mike Alaalatoa has been denied clearance to play for the Barbarians against the Wallabies - and his brother Allan - on Saturday at Allianz Stadium.
The development may see the Wallabies send James Slipper across to the BaaBaas for the game, given the Queensland prop wasn't selected in the 23-man squad.
Alaalatoa, who won a Super Rugby title with the Crusaders this year, was approached on Thursday morning by Barbarians assistant coach Brian Smith to see if was available to replace injured prop Sef Fagaase in the BaaBaas team to play Australia.
The 26-year-old is in Sydney on leave, ahead of his wedding to fiancee Kara in a few weeks.
Keen to play against the Wallabies, Alaalatoa made it to Barbarians training in Bondi by midday but had to stand on the sidelines watching on as official approval was sought from the Crusaders.
But the Kiwi club this afternoon put a block on their 135kg prop playing in the game, given the very late notice.
Earlier in the day, Alaalatoa said he was interested in playing so he could face up to the Wallabies and younger brother Allan, who is the starting tighthead for Australia.
"I got the call this morning. It was all last-minute," Alaalatoa told the Daily Telegraph.
"I am back here to see my family and I am getting married, too. If I get to play, then that'd be great.
"It is always something I wanted to do. The Barbarians is one of the most famous teams in the world."
The 135kg giant grew up in Sydney and spent three years with the Waratahs, but unwanted by all Aussie franchises in 2015, he joined the Crusaders in 2016 and has since been talked up as a future All Black prop by Robertson and others.
Alaalatoa's brother Allan is a current Wallaby prop and if Mike gets the green light to play, he may clash with his sibling while playing in a national jersey.
The pair have played against each other at Super Rugby level before.
"I tried to smash him but when we played this year we were only on at the same time for about 30 seconds. No scrums," Alaalatoa said.