Brumbies hailed for wearing lavalavas to celebrate Pasifika culture

The Brumbies have been widely praised for wearing lavalavas to chilly Canberra Stadium for their Pasifika Day Super Rugby derby with the Reds last weekend.

Captain Christian Lealiifano and his Brumbies buddies got off the team bus, clad in blue cloth skirts of a style traditionally worn by Polynesian people.

The sign of respect has been hailed in the Pasifika rugby community, with American Samoa-born former All Black Jerome Kaino, taking to Twitter from France to say: "Love this", followed by a burst of emoji applause.

New Zealand-born former Samoa test player Fosi Pala'amo also tweeted his congratulations from Ireland.

The players were still sporting lavalavas when they inspected the pitch, though some had donned track suit bottoms under their Pasifika attire and woollen beanies to ward off the Canberra cold.

Injured Wallabies flanker David Pocock stayed staunch. He was photographed with bare legs protuding from the bottom of his lavalava.

Around 50 per cent of the Brumbies' squad have Pasifika heritage.

The club hosted a Pasifika Day last January at which players wore traditional garb and gathered to learn more about their teammates' culture, learn cooking techniques from Pasifika countries and traditional Samoan dancing.

The Brumbies - who will host a Super Rugby final against the Sharks on Saturday - wore a special Pasifika-inspired jersey for their 40-27 win over Brad Thorn's Reds. It incorporated motifs and traditions from Fiji, the Cook Islands, Tonga, Niue and Samoa, reflecting some of the cultural backgrounds of the Brumbies squad.

Fittingly, Wallabies prop Scott Sio -  son of a former Samoan test prop - celebrated his 100th Super Rugby game for the Brumbies against the Reds.

He said on Twitter it had been "an unforgettable night" and thanked his Brumbies "brothers for grinding out the win" and expressed gratitude to "all the fans who braved the cold".

Speaking before the game on, Sio said he was "impressed by the way this team and organisation has embraced [Pasifika Day].

"That's something that's really special and something a lot of clubs haven't done. I'm thankful to the Brumbies for celebrating how far we've come."