Alapati Leiua to join brother in test rugby arena

TOBY ROBSON
Last updated 05:00 29/05/2013
Alapati Leiua
KENT BLECHYNDEN/Fairfax NZ
FAMILY FACTOR: Alapati Leiua will join his brother in the Samoan national team.

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Alapati Leiua's been a surprise package all season, so the revelation that he has an older brother in the Samoan test team seems a natural fit.

It's a little known fact in New Zealand that the Hurricanes' talented utility is the younger sibling of well known Samoan loose forward Ofisa Treviranus.

And it's just one of the reasons Leiua is so excited about taking the step from Super Rugby into the test arena during next month's international quadrangular tournament in South Africa.

"It's exciting to go to a new level and I'm a little nervous," the 24-year-old said this week. "But I know quite a few of the boys and I actually have an older brother in the team."

Which is where Leiua explains he changed his surname after coming to Wellington as a 16-year-old to live with his uncle.

"I call my Leiua family here my brothers and sisters as well. They are actually my first cousins, but they are my family too. I have four sisters and two brothers," he said.

In fact, the 24-year-old was born a Treviranus, one of seven siblings including two brothers and four sisters.

"My whole family will be happy and they are all supporting me. I'm really happy to get the chance to play for Samoa, and I'm looking forward to it."

If selected for Samoa's first match, against Scotland on June 8, he may well make his test debut along side Treviranus, a 29-year-old flanker who made a big impression during the last Rugby World Cup and was then snapped up by London Irish.

Leiua hit the headlines last month when it emerged he was on the radar of the All Blacks selectors.

He subsequently declared his allegiance to his birth country and the chance to play alongside his brother would surely have been a factor.

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