Brumbies utility back Anthony Fainga’a is thrilled to be back in Canberra and ready to put his extensive experience into practice with his new side.
Fainga’a returns to the Brumbies after finishing up with the Kintetsu Liners in the Japanese Top League, the centre’s first season in Japan.
It was a baptism of fire for the 30-year old, the Liners finishing 13th with only three wins from their 15 games in the competition.
Despite the tough season the former Queensland Reds man said his time in Japan was invaluable.
“Japan is a country where the guys have just worked super hard,” Fainga’a told the Brumbies’ official website.
“They’re probably not the most talented rugby players in the world but they make up for it with their work ethic, it’s huge.
“For me to get over there and start playing with the Japanese has been fantastic, it’s helped my rugby and helped me learn a new culture.
“Not only that but it’s helped me to grow the base of what I thought was hard work, they’ve just taken it to a new level.”
Fainga’a hopes this new work ethic will help propel him back to top form in the Super Rugby competition following a number of injury riddled seasons with the Reds.
The utility back arrived in Canberra late last week, returning to the area where he was born, grew up and begun his rugby career.
Fainga’a said being back home had been everything he’d hoped for.
“To be back home has been amazing,” he added.
“I arrived Friday and I’ve had family dinners every single night so it’s been really, really good. I’m really happy to be back and to join the team today has been fantastic and to be around so many familiar faces, it’s been overwhelming.”
“For me it’s really been a great homecoming, walking the streets and going through Civic and Manuka and seeing all the old shops you used to go to as well as all the people you used to see, it’s been fantastic.”
Fainga’a said he feels a deep connection with Canberra and counted himself very lucky to be back playing rugby where it all began for him and his twin brother Saia.
“This is my home,” he added.
“I’ve been here for a very long time.”
“When I started here in 2004 with the Brumbies I always wanted to start and finish my career here.
“I’ve been lucky enough to be given the opportunity to come back by Stephen (Larkham) to come back and play for the Brumbies and to do that with Saia was a bonus.
“It was a big opportunity for me, I just want to make sure I can add to the team and put in good performances.”
Picture credit: Brumbies website