Christian Leali'ifano wishes his father could be here to see this.
To see his son inspire a generation and usher in a new era of opportunity as Moana Pasifika's franchise player leading into their Super Rugby Pacific debut in 2022 and perhaps force his way into Wallabies contention at 34.
Leali'ifano was 18 when his father Tavita passed away in 2006, just before his son left for Dubai to pilot Australia to the under 19 world championship in a side including David Pocock and the Fainga'a twins.
The veteran playmaker turned down a chance to return to the ACT Brumbies - adamant he didn't want to stand in the way of players like Noah Lolesio, Irae Simone and Len Ikitau - to pay tribute to his Samoan heritage for a new team playing out of Auckland's Mt Smart Stadium.
"I know my dad would have been really proud," Leali'ifano told The Canberra Times.
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"I wish he was here to see the new team out there and me being involved. I carry that a lot with me.
"I carry my heritage with me, I'm a proud Samoan, and to be given an opportunity to represent that on the world stage playing for Moana in one of the best provincial competitions in the world, there's nothing better. I'm really humbled."
A Super Rugby return adds another chapter to Leali'ifano's inspiring story, given his career seemed over when he was diagnosed with leukaemia in 2016.
The veteran playmaker has been plying his trade in Japan since playing the last of his 150 matches in Brumbies colours two years ago.
He was so nearly a Brumby again. Leali'ifano returned to Canberra following the Top League season and talks soon began with Dan McKellar about a return to the club.
"I was pretty close," Leali'ifano said.
Then Moana Pasifika director of rugby Kevin Senio called. He pitched the vision for the new club, which joins the Fijian Drua as Super Rugby's new additions from next year. Coach Aaron Mauger made it clear he wanted the former Wallaby to help build the program from the ground up.
"I was torn with the decision to either come back to my beloved Brumbies or start a new adventure with something with a real attachment and purpose to my heritage and ancestry, and giving back to the Pasifika community," Leali'ifano said.
"It will be tough mate [to play against the Brumbies]. It will be really tough. I love this city and the team, and I'll always be a Brumby, mate, no matter what. They've played a massive part of my life over so many years and they will always be so special to me.
"It was the same when I was in Japan, I was watching every game religiously, supporting Dan and the boys. It was a tough decision there but seeing guys like Noah, Irae and Lenny come through, it's their time to make their mark on the Brums.
"I had my time, I got an opportunity to do something new and I don't really want to block the next wave of talent coming through at Brums.
"I went and saw them the other week and they've got to write in my contract that I don't play against Brums. We'll see how we go with that, it might be a tweaked hammy that week. We joke around mate, but you never know, the rugby gods might give me a one-weeker."
Leali'ifano left the Brumbies in 2019, a campaign which also marked the last time he played for the Wallabies, when he started at flyhalf in Australia's World Cup quarter-final loss to England.
A return to the international arena would not be beyond Leali'ifano, with those in Wallabies camp adamant age is no barrier to a Test recall.
An impressive return with Moana Pasifika could be enough for Leali'ifano to force his way into the frame alongside Quade Cooper, James O'Connor and Lolesio.
"Jeez, you never say never," Leali'ifano said.
"It's far from my mind. Just being given a chance to play for Moana has been a massive bonus. If I'm playing well enough and it's good enough, you never know. If they're keen, then they're keen. If not, then so be it. I'm all good either way.
"You never say no, representing your country is one of the best achievements out there and if you can play well enough and continue to add to what Dave Rennie's plans are moving forward, then you never know, hey?"
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