Versatile front-rower Albert Anae has joined the Aquis Brumbies on a one-year deal with an option for a second year.
Anae was born in Wellington, New Zealand where he was introduced to rugby at the Upper Hutt Rugby Football Club by his father Sio. He moved to Brisbane with his family at a young age.
He attended Ipswich Grammar School and was selected to represent Queensland at the Australian Schools Rugby Championships as a prop in 2006. He went on to play for Australian Schools, U19s and U20s.
He was selected to join the Queensland Reds Development tour of Ireland and France at the end of 2007. He made his Australian under-20 debut in 2008 at the inaugural IRB Junior World Championship in Wales.
Anae played his first Super Rugby match for the Reds against the Hurricanes in Wellington in 2011, the year that the Reds won the Super Rugby Championship.
In 2012, Anae was selected in the Reds Extended Player Squad (EPS), and developed his skills to be capable of playing all three front-row positions. Following injuries to Saia Faingaa and James Hanson, he was selected at hooker against the Western Force at Suncorp Stadium in Round Two. The Reds won the game 35–20 with Anae excelling when given the opportunity. He finished the season with five caps.
In 2013, after signing a full-time contract, Anae earned a further eleven caps with the Reds. He travelled to New Zealand in August of that year to play for Bay of Plenty in the ITM Cup when he was called up to the Wallabies squad to replace the injured Tatafu Polota-Nau.
After spending last season with Italian club Benetton Treviso, he has arrived in Canberra eager to fit into his new surroundings.
Anae says he has unfinished business in Super Rugby after earning 27 caps in four years with the Reds before leaving at the end of the 2014 season.
“I thought I had a lot more to give to Australian rugby and I wanted to give it a crack one more time in Super Rugby,” Anae said.
“I enjoyed my time (in Italy), but deep down inside I knew I wanted to come back to Super Rugby.
“To get picked up by the Brumbies, it’s a real honour to be here.
“You come across forwards that play internationals for their own countries and you get real starstruck.
“They take pride in their scrummaging in Italy so it helped my game in terms of scrums and had a massive emphasis on the set piece.
“That’s what I took out of European rugby.”
The 26-year old arrived in the ACT this week to begin training with the University of Canberra of Vikings in the Buildcorp National Rugby Championship, ahead of the Super Rugby pre-season with the Brumbies.