Wallabies and Brumbies forward Rob Valetini who boasts a stack of international caps and is one of rugby’s hottest prospects, says his elder sibling Kemu has taken all the stardom in the family by kicking the winning penalty for the Fijian Drua in their famous 25-24 win over the Crusaders in Lautoka on Saturday.
For 28-year-old Kemu, it was the culmination of a lengthy journey to earn his debut, but also his chance to start a new chapter on Fijian soil.
Rob, 24, in an interview with The Canberra Weekly, admitted it was a special family moment, seeing Kemu shine in their heritage nation, in front of family and on a ground their father had played on in the past.
“He’ll definitely be the favourite child now winning in Fiji … I’m just really happy for the family,” he quipped.
“I was stoked just to see him get on. He was only on for about five minutes and got all the glory at the end there.”
“I was definitely really happy for him. I called the parents after the game too and they were real happy.”
“He’s been on a long journey as well, through a lot of injuries and he’s been around the same rugby scenes around the world.”
Kemu spent a season at the Melbourne Rebels development side before heading for a stint in Spain, but earned his Drua contract via impressive form last season at Shute Shield side Manly.
Rob said the moment was huge for Fijian rugby and admitted he dreaded having to travel there and tackle the Drua at some point in the future.
“You’re never too old to debut,” he said.
“He (Kemu) got picked up just to go and train with the Drua, only on a training contract that was supposed to end in January.”
“Kids growing up in Fiji now have a pathway to go through instead of going overseas to France or Japan, and the Drua is only going to get stronger with all the kids wanting to play there.”
“It’s probably the last place you want to play, Fiji, in the heat, in front of that crowd.”
“It’s always going to be a tough ask to go and play there. Lucky we don’t have them there (this season),” he added.