ACT Brumbies prop Allan Alaalatoa has struggled with homesickness, but hopes to make his Super Rugby debut this season.

ACT Brumbies prop Allan Alaalatoa has struggled with homesickness, but hopes to make his Super Rugby debut this season. Photo: Jay Cronan

Family is a big part of Samoan culture and ACT Brumbies prop Allan Alaalatoa has struggled with homesickness since moving from Sydney to join the Super Rugby province's extended playing squad, but regularly seeing his parents and being part of the Brumbies' Community has helped immensely.

Having returned home for the bye week, he will cook a birthday breakfast for his mum Emma in Sydney on Thursday before returning to Canberra to play for the Uni-Norths clash against Gungahlin in the John I Dent Cup that night.

For Alaalatoa it's a chance to impress Brumbies director of rugby Laurie Fisher as he works towards fulfilling his goal of earning a spot on the bench and making his Super Rugby debut this season.

But the 20-year-old admits he's missed his family since moving to Canberra.

The Community, the name given to the tight-knit group of Brumbies with an Islander background, has helped him settle in.

Regular visits from his dad Vili, who comes down from Sydney for every Brumbies home game, and having childhood friend Scott Sio in the squad – the pair's dads both played for Samoa in the 1991 World Cup – have also helped.

"Just coming from Samoa, Pacific Islander background, your life is based around family," Alaalatoa said.

"Fortunately for me Canberra's not too far away from home, so I'm fortunate enough my parents can come down every two weeks or every home game.

"I thought I'd be worse than I am, but you have a lot of boys in the team that are like brothers so we're normally hanging around with each other every day, which helps in that department."

Alaalatoa is hoping to learn as much as he can off the likes of Ben Alexander, Fotu Auelua and David Pocock this year.

Playing for Uni Norths gives him the chance to play a full 80 minutes and hopefully move a step closer to earning his first Super Rugby cap.

Alaalatoa is also in the Australian under-20 squad and will go into camp on the Gold Coast next week as preparations ramp up for the Junior World Championships in New Zealand in June.

Fellow Brumby Tom Staniforth is also part of the squad.

"I think that will be another good opportunity to get some good quality footy, so I'm really looking forward to that contest in June," Alaalatoa said.

"As an under-20 team the last two years we haven't gone so well, so there's a lot of preparation gone into the new 20s program with a lot of trial games before we leave for New Zealand.

"We just hope as a team we can go a step further than the last two years."

Alaalatoa will be joined by Brumbies halfback Michael Dowsett in the Uni Norths line-up, while Lionel Cronje, Conrad Hoffmann and Ruaidhri Murphy will suit up for Gungahlin at the brand new Gungahlin Enclosed.

JOHN I DENT CUP 

Gungahlin v Uni Norths

Gungahlin Enclosed, Thursday 7pm