Friendly fire for Alexander brothers in trial

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Brumbies prop Ben Alexander is hoping for more than just a strong hitout against the Barbarians on Saturday, with brother Tom lining up against him. 

The clash will be the first time the brothers have faced off, with a club game for Eastwood the last time they played together.

Rugby has been a lifelong passion for both brothers and the youngest Alexander, Hugh, all ferried around to their respective matches as youngsters, Ben said.

Tom (left) and Ben Alexander are looking forward to facing off on Saturday. Photo: Brumbies Media“We always played as kids, he (Tom) was a few age groups below me and it was a family thing,” he said.

“Rugby was just what happened on the weekend in our family for a long time and we've all kept playing, apart from Hughy with his knee, but he still likes to be around rugby.”

As far as form goes, Ben gave his little brother big wraps, having seen the improvements he’s made through his career.

“Most forwards do - you get a bit wiser, you keep learning as you get older,” he said.

“Even though people's bodies start slowing down, you can still keep learning and keep getting better and he still enjoys his rugby so he keeps trotting out for Woods every year and then he got a run with the Rams.” - Ben Alexander

Tom’s form for the Western Sydney Rams earned him a call up to the Australian Barbarians team and Ben hopes he will catch the attention of Super Rugby clubs.

The younger Alexander was in the Brumbies Academy and then had a stint in Europe before returning home and playing Shute Shield for Eastwood.

Ben pointed to teammate Josh Mann-Rea, who will likely take on the Brumbies starting hooker spot after Stephen Moore’s switch back to the Reds.

Josh Mann-Rea has plenty to prove. Photo: ARU Media/Stu Walmlsey“As long as you stick to it and you work hard, you just don't know when - things can change very quickly,” he said.

“You can work hard for a long time and it can change like that, like it did for Bong [Mann-Rea] but people that know Bongo know his story about how hard he's worked for a long period of time, like to see the same thing happen with my brother and I believe it can because he's a good player.”

Tom’s not getting ahead of himself but the utility forward is hoping to make an impression on Saturday.

“I tore my ACL three or four years ago and it took me a while to come back but any opportunity just to play against Super Rugby franchises is a great opportunity and I just relish any game as it comes these days,” he said.

“It’s so good to get out there and put on a Barbarians jersey and play the Brumbies, who are a great outfit and looks like they're taking it very seriously too, which is a great thing for rugby in general.” - Tom Alexander

Brumbies coach Stephen Larkham said the trial would be a strong litmus test for his side.

"A good, hard hitout against these Australian barbarian boys who've got a very good squad on paper and then next week we play the Waratahs," he said.

"This is our first test to see where we're at.

Stephen Larkham sees this weekend as an audition for plenty of players .Photo: Brumbies Media"There's still a little bit of inconsistency and that's what you're going to see when you've got a lot of new players to the team, there's still that little bit of inconsistency in training but it'll be a good test for us this weekend to see exactly where the combinations are at."

Both teams have named their lineups for the match, with the Brumbies including 13 new faces and the Barbarians picking the best of the NRC.