Allan Alaalatoa can sit on a video call with his brother until his phone battery burns out, swapping Super Rugby stories and barbs about boyhood backyard battles.
But all the calls, messages and pictures of his brother's baby Parker will never compare to the moment he stepped through a set of doors inside Christchurch airport this week.
Waiting for the ACT Brumbies captain was his rival tighthead prop come Saturday night - his brother Michael Alaalatoa, with baby boy Parker in his arms and wife Sekarani by his side.
"Mate, it's just the little moments like that you really cherish and appreciate the most," Allan said.
The brothers hadn't seen each other since last year, stuck on opposite sides of the Tasman as the COVID-19 pandemic restricted international flights.
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But now they will go head to head on a rugby field for the first time since 2019, when Allan's Brumbies face Michael's Canterbury Crusaders in round one of Super Rugby Trans-Tasman at Christchurch Stadium.
Allan is yet to get the better of his older brother in a Super Rugby game. The Brumbies are looking to overturn a nine-match losing streak against the kings of Super Rugby Aotearoa.
Parents Vili and Emma will be watching from the stands as one son anchors a scrum hunting on a path to redemption, while the other bolsters a side chasing a sixth successive trophy.
So who do they side with? Emma has in the past knitted a "Team Alaalatoa" crest so she can sit on the fence, but Allan says he knows where the Alaalatoa clan's true loyalties lie.
"I know all my family are definitely Brumbies supporters," Allan grinned.
"As soon as the bubble opened up, my parents were on the first flight booked to come over to Christchurch to meet their grandson.
"It was the first time my dad got to meet his grandson a few weeks ago, and that was really special for my family.
"Mum stayed over here to watch the grand final [between] Crusaders and Chiefs, and my dad flew over to Brisbane to come watch the Brumbies and the Reds go at it.
"In terms of our parents, they probably split their time just to try to balance that out. They are both on the plane coming to watch us go head to head."
The Brumbies enter the clash between two of Super Rugby's leading teams as rank outsiders. It hardly comes as a surprise given the Crusaders' story of success.
How Dan McKellar's side rebounds from a gut-wrenching Super Rugby AU final defeat is a source of intrigue, perhaps even more so given they face the toughest road to the Trans-Tasman title.
The Brumbies will spend the opening three rounds of the competition on the road, with the Crusaders clash followed by games against the Waikato Chiefs and Auckland Blues.
For the record, that's Super Rugby Aotearoa's top three teams - the same three sides favoured by the bookmakers to claim the Trans-Tasman crown.
All five New Zealand teams feature in the first five lines of betting. The Queensland Reds would seem Australia's best chance, but the Brumbies are desperate to prove their doubters wrong.
As for Allan, it goes a little deeper than the chance to test himself against one of world rugby's premier clubs.
He's just relishing the chance to get his brother back for all the whacks he copped in the backyard.
"There's a bit of banter being thrown around, but there is a lot of love there obviously. Except for [Saturday], once that whistle blows, you know we're going to be ripping into each other," Allan said.
"I'm sure he, as the older brother, he's going to try to stamp his authority there but I'm going to do everything I can to ruin his day.
"Personally, because my brother is playing, I've been watching them a lot. I know a lot of the boys watch them. They obviously have set the standard for Super Rugby for a lot of years.
"I know a lot of people, whether you're a player or a fan, everyone is tuning in to watch their games.
"They're someone that has set the benchmark for Super Rugby Aotearoa and we're just looking forward to that challenge."
SUPER RUGBY TRANS-TASMAN ROUND ONE
Saturday: Canterbury Crusaders v ACT Brumbies at Christchurch Stadium, 5.05pm. Broadcast: Live on Stan Sport.
ACT Brumbies squad: 1. Scott Sio, 2. Folau Fainga'a, 3. Allan Alaalatoa (c), 4. Darcy Swain, 5. Nick Frost, 6. Henry Stowers, 7. Rory Scott, 8. Rob Valetini, 9. Ryan Lonergan, 10. Noah Lolesio, 11. Tom Wright, 12. Irae Simone, 13. Len Ikitau, 14. Solomone Kata, 15. Tom Banks. Replacements: 16. Lachlan Lonergan, 17. Harry Lloyd, 18. Tom Ross, 19. Tom Hooper, 20. Luke Reimer, 21. Issak Fines-Leleiwasa, 22. Reesjan Pasitoa, 23. Mack Hansen
Canterbury Crusaders squad: 1. George Bower, 2. Codie Taylor (c), 3. Michael Alaalatoa, 4. Mitchell Dunshea, 5. Sam Whitelock, 6. Ethan Blackadder, 7. Tom Sanders, 8. Cullen Grace, 9. Bryn Hall, 10. Richie Mo'unga, 11. Leicester Fainga'anuku, 12. David Havili, 13. Braydon Ennor, 14. Manasa Mataele, 15. George Bridge. Replacements: 16. Brodie McAlister, 17. Tamaiti Williams, 18. Oliver Jager, 19. Scott Barrett, 20. Brendon O'Connor, 21. Ere Enari, 22. Fergus Burke, 23. Sevu Reece
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