He is Australia’s third most capped prop of all time (72 Tests) and is about to embark on his 10th Super Rugby season with the Brumbies.
Ben Alexander has endeared himself to rugby fans in the nation’s capital since scoring on debut against the Reds in 2008. Fast forward 130 matches and his desire to win the title for his beloved team hasn’t waned.
The 31-year-old veteran sat down with Commentary Box Sports’ Dave McLenaghan to discuss life on and off the field.
DM: You are an elder statesman at the Brumbies now. Another pre-season training block is about to begin. Excited or weary?
BA: I have had a lot of time off this year so apart from my first, this is as excited as I have ever been for a pre-season. I have realised being in the Brumbies is a blessing getting to do what I do. Putting up with a bit of pain in the pre-season so I can play rugby for a living is well worth it.
Despite interest from European clubs you decided to stay in Canberra and sign a one-year extension. Why?
My wife and I welcomed twins to the family this year and we are entrenched here as we both have family close by so it makes sense. I have ambitions to get back into the national side and I love playing for the Brumbies as well. That is the team I have always supported. Those factors combined, outweighed any options in Europe.
— Brisbane News (@BrissieLiveNews) July 13, 2016
Has fatherhood made focusing on rugby harder?
Not at all. It is easier! You actually get a break from (the kids). Every day is constant. It is all-consuming. Any new parent knows it is a big adjustment. I love the children to bits but it is nice to get out of the house. I hope my wife doesn’t see this! Going to work is almost a break from the chaos at my house. It has helped.
As well as the twins, you are also busy running a pub at Kingston (The Dock) with Brumbies team-mate Scott Fardy. Is that the plan post-football?
I am undecided but it has been really interesting. I do love it. It is a great opportunity. I have been learning lots, not just about pubs but also about business in general. It is more a hobby than anything to be honest. I am back at university doing my MBA (Master of Business Administration) so I am busy with that too.
What’s the Brumbies’ goal for the 2017 Super Rugby season?
We will speak about the upcoming campaign as a group during pre-season training but the goal every year is to win it. We have lost a lot of experience though. Stephen Moore, Joe Tomane, David Pocock, Matt Toomua, Ita Vaea, and Christian Lealiifano obviously with his battle with leukemia. We don’t expect him to be on the field next year. He’s our captain, fly-half and spiritual leader and we have plenty of work to do to replace him. We have recruited well though and I think we can top our conference and then see how we go in the finals.
72 Tests, the 2011 World Cup, the 2013 British and Irish Lions series – you have achieved plenty in the green and gold. Do you think you will represent the Wallabies again?
I certainly do. I have a pretty good grasp of the skill side of the position (prop) but there is still so much I need to improve on and it is really clear to me now how to go about it. I am a fair bit away from returning to the national side at the moment but my goal is to go to the next World Cup. It is really clear to me now how I go about achieving that. At the end of the day, I do not think age matters as long as you are the best performer in your position. I am focusing on getting better and improving and the rest will take care of itself.
— WorldNews_net (@worldnews_net) July 2, 2015
Are there any young Australian props who we should be keeping an eye on?
I may be biased but I really think we have a good core group of front-rowers here at the Brumbies. In my opinion, Scott Sio is probably the best or close to the best loosehead scrummager in the world. Another is Allan Alaalatoa. He has played a lot of loosehead this year but also played tighthead for the Wallabies. Allan is an absolute massive lump of a lad and he has a really good work ethic and has a good rugby brain too.
Which country will snap the All Blacks’ record-breaking winning streak?
My honest bet is Australia when the two countries play here next year. I think that’s the next time New Zealand will lose. A few nations will push the ABs during their northern hemisphere tour but I cannot remember the last time they lost a Spring Tour Test. The All Blacks are the benchmark at the moment and the rest of the world is playing catch-up.