Holm Truths: Sibling rivalry helped start Huia Edmonds' career
The sibling rivalry is as strong as ever.
Wallabies hooker Huia Edmonds explains how competition with older brother Manny kick-started his rugby career.
IT started in his infancy.
AS early as he can remember, Huia Edmonds has been competing with his older brother.
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As soon as his family moved from New Zealand to Australia, the Gloucester hooker was sharing a rugby field with older sibling Manny.
There were no teams for four-year-olds, so Edmonds junior just joined his brother in the Under-Eights.
Ever since, the pair have been fiercely competitive about everything – but certainly rugby.
Humble beginnings quickly turned into professional careers for the Edmonds brothers.
Former Waratahs, Bayonne and Perpignan fly-half Manny might have won the race to the first Australia cap.
But Huia boasts three international bows to his brother's two – and he said that's what counts most.
"My parents are both Kiwis but we moved over to Australia when I was pretty young," explained the 30-year-old summer Kingsholm recruit.
"All my family moved over, my mum wanted to be close to her family, and my grandparents were in Australia at the time, so she wanted to be close to them.
"Everyone's still there so it's worked out pretty well.
"My brother's four years older than me, so he started playing in New Zealand when he was six.
"I wanted to play with him, so when he was eight I started playing in his team when I was four.
"I started from a pretty young age then, and in an Under-Eights team too.
"It's maybe a bit odd, but it was a small town and there weren't too many kids around, so to make up the numbers my mum pushed me forward.
"I can't really remember too much about that, to be honest though, but I do remember that we've always been competitive as brothers.
"Manny made pretty much every representative team growing up, so I wanted to follow that.
"I pretty much did everything he did.
"I thought that if I could do as well as he did then I could go pretty far, so it was an aim to try to match him, definitely.
"There's rivalry between us in everything, cricket, whatever, you name it, we'll be competitive about it.
"Well I've got more Tests than him, which is a big one.
"Not by much, but it's there.
"But he made his Test debut at 21 and it took me until 28.
"But the total number is all that counts!"
After attending Erindale College in Canberra, Edmonds signed for the New South Wales Waratahs.
The livewire front-rower played number eight through school, but said he always expected a move further up the scrum.
Then-Waratahs coach Ewen McKenzie even suggested Edmonds switch to centre – but he admits he is pleased he stuck to his front-row guns.
He continued: "I started off as a number eight; I went all the way through school as a number eight.
"Then when I was 18 I was asked if I could play hooker, I gave it a go and moved from there.
"It was a difficult process, because of the scrums and lineouts.
"But I think it's worked out for the best.
"Hookers these days pretty much come from a back-row background.
"I played centre a couple of times, Ewen McKenzie wanted me to try inside centre when I was at the Waratahs when I was about 21.
"But I said no, he asked me if I could play a couple of games for a club team.
"I did and I enjoyed it, but hooker was always the position I wanted to play.
"So I stuck with it.
"When I finished school I was signed by New South Wales pretty much straight away, and moved up there for four years, first under Bob Dwyer then Ewen McKenzie.
"My school was predominantly about rugby league, but while I played that I always loved union the most.
"Rugby's always been in the blood, in my family, and once I started to see how well my brother did, that's pretty much what I wanted to do.
"And I've been massively fortunate to have that chance."
Injuries at crucial times left Edmonds clubless last season.
He signed a deal to join Saracens, only to be forced into a choice between joining the Premiership club and the World Cup with Australia.
He opted for the World Cup – then sustained torn foot ligaments two weeks later.
Left in limbo, Edmonds spent last season training on his own.
He has looked anything but rusty in his short time at Kingsholm, and believes last year's troubles have eventually worked out for the best.
He added: "When I first signed with Saracens I was a bit up in the air about whether to do it or not.
"It was my first year of Test rugby, at the time when I signed, a month down the track I felt like I had made the wrong decision.
"Because going into that Super Rugby season it brought it all home how much I loved playing that and playing for my country.
"But then those injuries came along and I felt like it was the right thing to leave.
"And discussing contracts back home with the ARU and things, that felt like a difficult process, more so than it perhaps should have been.
"And now things are going great, so I'm really happy with how it's all turned out.
"I can't really ask for much more – except maybe the weather!"