When Andrew Smith decided to come home after two seasons in Europe, the Brumbies were the only club he considered.
After playing five seasons with the ACT franchise before signing with Munster in Ireland and then playing a season with Montpellier, bringing up his young family in Australia proved the deciding factor in his latest move.
‘It was always in the back of my mind to come back,” he said.
“Family’s a big reason as well so got a young family made it easier to come back.
‘The decision was either staying (overseas) or coming back to the Brumbies.
“I loved my time here and knew a lot of the guys were still here good time so it was appealing to come back.”
Smith returns armed with a different perspective on rugby after his time in the forward-focused northern hemisphere game.
“It was very different, it was a lot slower,” he said.
“The ball doesn't really come out to the backs, you’ve got to go looking for the ball a bit more, a very forward-oriented game,” he said.
“It was new to me but it takes a while to adjust but once you get the hang of it.”
Asked to compare southern and northern styles, Smith said they were almost polar opposites.
“They’re reffed differently, the pace is different, just the structures and the way it’s played is very different,” he said.
“It’s too hard to compare.”
Another Australian landing at the Brumbies from Europe is prop Albert Anae.
The former Reds prop spent a season with Italian side Treviso before signing with the Brumbies ahead of the 2016 season.
The loosehead will find himself with stiff competition for the number one jersey, likely to be behind Wallabies prop Scott Sio in the side’s pecking order.
Anae said he was focused on enhancing his versatility through the pre-season.
“In this day and age you’ve got to be able to cover different positions on the rugby field,” he said.
“I played hooker here and there but I much prefer loosehead.
“To have a Wallaby loosehead it’s good to learn from and challenging as well.
“I’d love to learn a bit more about tight head as time progresses. It’s a great challenge.”