Brotherly love will be left behind in the change rooms tonight as the Ebersohn twins come face-to-face in anger for the first time when the Western Force clash with South Africa's Cheetahs.
The backyard battles played out between Sias and Robert on their family farm in Bloemfontein from the age of six will suddenly become a very real Super Rugby skirmish at nib Stadium.
Fly-half Sias played alongside his brother at inside centre through their school days at the famous Grey College, in South African representative sides and for three seasons at the Cheetahs until his move to the Force this season.
"We used to have the toughest battles out there in the backyard," Robert, the youngest of the pair by 30 seconds, said.
"That's where it started. It was just the two of us kicking, playing mostly grubbers and chippies. Now it's a privilege to play a professional match against your brother."
So who won?
"It was tight in the backyard. It's a Test match still continuing," Sias said.
"It's going to be different, nothing personal, going against him and a lot of my friends as well.
"We're just going to have some fun, play some nice footy and be entertaining."
Sias said it was a huge move to leave the brother he had lived with for 22 years.
"We are very close. It was a big call but sometimes in life you come to a crossroads," he said.
The Force will be out to break the hoodoo of never having won their first home game of the season.
The Cheetahs will also want to create their own bit of history. If they beat the Force they will have won three games on tour for the first time after wins against the Highlanders and Waratahs.
"The Cheetahs will be targeting this game as an opportunity to go away with their best tour ever. For us it would be a record changing first win as well," Sias Ebersohn said. "There is a lot of confidence in both squads."
The Cheetahs have developed a swift counterattack after throwing numbers into the breakdown and Force captain Matt Hodgson identified scrum-half Sarel Pretorius and flanker Heinrich Brussow as keys to their attacking mindset.
"Sarel sparks a lot of energy and we need to shut him down. Brussow is one of their ball magnets and we'll definitely have to pay attention to him," he said.
"The last two weeks the Cheetahs have been an exciting side.
"They like to run it and no matter where they are on the field they will chance their arm. We'll have to be ready to expect their unexpected."
Sias Ebersohn said the Force had gathered a lot of momentum from the 19-12 win over the Reds.
"Hopefully we can bottle what we did leading up to the Reds game and take it into the Cheetahs," he said.
"We put it down to the attitude for 80 minutes. It's the first time we really stuck to our system and on the back of defence we had a plan to shut down certain key players.""We used to have the toughest battles out there in the backyard. That's where it started." " *Robert * *Ebersohn *
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