Solomone Kata knows the struggle of being away from family and is not taking the Trans-Tasman bubble for granted, after he spent 10 months away from his during the COVID-19 border closures.
Covid border closures separated the 26-year-old from his now-wife and three-year-old daughter, who remained in Auckland after he made the move to Canberra.
Now the Kata family can move freely between the two nations, but for 10 months this was not the case.
Following two losses for the side during their three-match NZ tour, the Brumbies winger acknowledged the hardship of players being away from their family during the tour.
He said the key moving forward for the side's match against the Blues was to enjoy the game.
"Some of the boys here have been away from family for probably the first time. They've got kids and that, all we need to do is just get out there, have fun and just play our Brumbies football," Kata said.
"I'm pretty sure we can come [away] with the win this week, so we're looking forward to it."
He entered hotel quarantine during the Christmas break to reunite with them in January.
After exiting quarantine and reuniting with his family, he went on to marry his partner Stephanie Tafea-Kata days later on January 7.
"I was born in Tonga, but I've been in Auckland for seven years," he said.
"I've still got my mum here, as well as my family in Auckland, so it's pretty good to be back and to be able to play against the Blues ... they're really close with the Warriors, but yeah [I] really look forward to getting out there on Saturday."
MORE RUGBY UNION
Kata spent his formative years in Tonga before securing a rugby union scholarship in 2011 to attend Sacred Heart College in Auckland. Two years later he made the switch to league to play with the Warriors.
The former Warriors player switched codes in 2020, after 93 games in the NRL. He planned to remain in rugby league after signing with the Melbourne Storm, but he was unable to break into their lineup.
The former Kiwi national player suited up for 13 games for the ACT side last season and has played two games so far this year, following a call up after Andy Muirhead suffered an ankle injury during the AU final against the Reds.
The 177 centimetre winger has been a promising force for the Brumbies in his last two matches in the Trans-Tasman competition and said playing the NZ teams would help Australian rugby union.
"Hopefully they'll continue this next year as well, because it will help us," he said.
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