23 Sep 2015

Cousins vie for family bragging rights

3:39 pm on 23 September 2015

Family bragging rights are at stake for cousins Tevita Kuridrani and Nemani Nadolo when they line up on opposite sides as Australia play Fiji in the World Cup.

Tevita Kuridrani

Tevita Kuridrani Photo: AFP

Kuridrani will start at outside centre for the Wallabies while giant goal-kicking cousin Nadolo keeps his spot on the wing for Fiji for the match at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium.

The closed 74,500-seater stadium is a far cry from the village beach in Namatakula on Fiji's southern Coral Coast where the two cousins were pitched against each other in impromptu barefoot games on the sand.

"Nemani used to come back to Fiji for holidays and we always played on the beach," Kuridrani said of his cousin, who at 27 is three years older and moved to Australia at the age of just three months.

Full World Cup Coverage

"We didn't imagine that we'd be playing against each other on the big stage later on!"

Kuridrani, who himself only moved to Australia in 2007, said his family were revelling in the cousins' match-up.

"Yeah, it'll be good," said the centre who turned out for the Fijian under-20 side at the 2010 IRB World Junior Championship before transferring allegiance to Australia a year later and winning his first cap in 2013 after starring for the Brumbies in the victory over the touring British and Irish Lions.

"I've had a few chats with Nemani earlier in the week. We were just talking about how proud the family are back home and for us to be here playing against each other on a big stage.

"I'm excited and can't wait to get out there."

Away from the sandy beach of Namatakula, population 2,500 but home to many successful rugby stars including league legends Lote Tuqiri and Noa Nadruku, the last time the two came head-to-head was in Super Rugby, Kuridrani's Brumbies coming up against the Crusaders.

"Yeah, our last match was the Brumbies against Crusaders," Kuridrani said.

Nemani Nadolo

Nemani Nadolo Photo: AFP

"He was a very big threat for us in the backline. He was very dangerous with the ball in hand and I think he scored a couple of tries."

A far cry from the beach run about, then?

"Back then we were still young," Kuridrani said of Nadolo who now stands 196cm tall and weighs in at a whopping 126kg.

"We were always competing against each other. It was always fun, playing rugby on the beach, yeah."

With that in mind, Kuridrani said there would be no left-field approach to the game against the Pacific islanders.

"I think it's just trying to stick to our game plan and not trying to play their game because they are very dangerous when they start playing unstructured," he said.

Fijian centre Gabiriele Lovobalavu said he was "looking forward to playing against one of our fellow Fijian mates".

"Australia have really progressed a lot, they play a very fast-paced game and are very physical and we're looking forward to matching them," the Bayonne star said.


Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs

We have regular online commentary of local and international sport.