If ever a game of rugby could be dubbed a family affair, it will be on Sunday when Michael and Allan Alaalatoa create history in Canberra.
The Alaalatoas – whose father Vili was a Samoan international – will become the first brothers to play against each other for Super Rugby teams from different sides of the Tasman when Allan’s Brumbies host Michael’s Crusaders.
“Mum’s gone around and made T-shirts with little badges – half Crusaders, half Brumbies,” Allan said on Wednesday.
“You’ll see them. There will be a massive group of them wearing them. I have to get about 30 tickets. Mike’s trying to get some as well.”
Mrs Alaalatoa has also planned a family feast on Friday night.
“Hopefully he doesn’t get any food poisoning,” 22-year-old Allan said of his fellow front-rower brother Mike, 24.
“Mum asked me what we wanted for dinner before the game. I know that he likes pasta so I told mum just to cook some steak, just to put him off.”
Banter aside, the siblings and their respective teams have much to play for.
Currently top of the Australian conference, the Brumbies have lost their past five clashes with the Crusaders, who will again arrive in the national capital on form and riding a six-match winning streak.
Adding to the occasion will be the Brumbies’ incumbent Wallabies centre Tevita Kuridrani taking on his cousin, destructive Crusaders winger Nemani Nadalo.
“It’s always fun playing against my cousin,” Kuridrani said.
Until it comes to trying to stop the 195cm, 130kg juggernaut, whose two tries proved the difference in the Crusaders’ 37-24 victory over the Brumbies in the corresponding fixture last year.
“He’s a pretty hard man to stop, but that’s what we’ll be working on,” Kuridrani said.
“It was good to get that win (over the NSW Waratahs last week), especially at a tough place up in Sydney.
“Hopefully we’ll get that same momentum for this week’s game.”
Win or lose, there’ll be certain celebrations afterwards.
“There’s always family stuff after a game,” said Kuridrani.
“So we’ll probably have a kava.”