Christian Lealiifano

Former Wallaby lends a hand as Brumbies prepare for Super Rugby AU

The former Wallabies No.10 handed the reins over to the 20-year-old this year when he shifted his career overseas, but has been helping the Brumbies prepare for the Super Rugby AU competition’s start next month.

The 32-year-old has been making up the numbers at training and also acting as an extra coach for Lolesio, who has been lapping it up.

“After today’s session I went up to him and asked him what he thought and he gave some really wise advice,” Lolesio said.

“He’s always been a role model for me so it’s awesome that he can be here.”

Lealiifano shortlisted for global sports award

Lealiifano, who played in the World Cup three years after being diagnosed with leukaemia, has been shortlisted for the Comeback of the Year at the prestigious awards.

The 32-year-old, who is now playing with NTT Communications in the Japanese Top League, is joined by some giants of global sports including Andy Murray, NBA star Kawhi Leonard and swimmer Nathan Adrian.

Lealiifano was diagnosed with leaukaemia in 2016, just months after the birth of his son, Jeremih, and underwent months of treatment that forced him to miss much of the 2017 Super Rugby season.

Christian Lealiifano not certain he can manage three games in a row

Cancer survivor Lealiifano said it’s “hard to say” if he is ready for that sort of load after having been carefully managed through the pool phase of the tournament.

Coach Michael Cheika this week indicated the 32-year-old had the inside running to take the problematic playmaking role in Saturday’s quarter-final against England in Oita.

Cheika indicated Lealiifano hadn’t played there more because of the need to cater for his wellbeing.

Lealiifano looking likely to be the Wallabies' No.10 against England

Cheika has been criticised for failing to select the same player in the No.10 in successive matches since Lealiifano started both Bledisloe Cup Tests in August.

The position has taken on an experimental feel in Japan, with Bernard Foley handed a start against Wales and Matt To'omua against Georgia.

Lealiifano started the first and third games, against Fiji and Uruguay, and while not entirely convincing, he appears set to run the show against England on Saturday.

Lealiifano, O'Connor named for Wallabies returns

Lealiifano, 31, is set for his first Australia appearance since June 2016, having returned to form with the Brumbies after a battle with leukaemia.

While Lealiifano was named to start at fly-half for the Wallabies in the Rugby Championship clash in Brisbane on Saturday, O'Connor is among the reserves.

O'Connor has played 44 Tests for the Wallabies, but the last of those was in September 2013, also against Argentina.

Test return would be hard to top for Lealiifano

When announcing the Wallabies squad last week, coach Michael Cheika was quick to stress that Lealiifano’s selection was entirely based on his form for the Brumbies this year - music to the playmaker’s ears.

“It'd (a Test comeback) be right up there. It's something I never thought would happen again,” he said.

“Obviously, to even play footy, but to be back in the squad is something I'm really proud of and grateful as well, that they haven't picked me just because I'm back and healthy again, they've picked me, Cheik said, on form and the way I've been playing.

Lealiifano rescues Ulster

Ashton Hewitt's second try of the game three minutes from time looked to be decisive in a thriller at Rodney Parade, but Ulster refused to accept defeat.

Lealiifano had the final say, the fly-half going over right at the end for a try which he was unable to convert, ensuring it was honours even to leave Ulster four points behind Conference B leaders the Scarlets.

Leallifano could extend Ulster stay

Lealiifano joined from Brumbies on a short-term deal in August and is due to head back to the Super Rugby side in early 2018.

The fly-half, who was diagnosed with leukaemia last year but returned to the sport in July after revealing he was in remission, is yet to fully consider remaining at the Irish province longer than initially planned, but suggested he would be open to it.

"I can't look too far ahead. I'll go until the end of January and do the best I can," Lealiifano told BBC Sport.

Christian Lealiifano off to Ulster

Lealiifano on Monday night announced he would link up with the Belfast-based club for the next five months before returning to pre-season training with the Brumbies in mid-January.

The deal is designed to ensure the playmaker gets more game time after he missed nearly all of the recently-completed Super Rugby season while recovering from his illness.

"I feel that it's important that I get some minutes playing competitive rugby ahead of the 2018 Super Rugby season," Lealiifano said in a statement.

Lealiifano inspired by the smile of his son

Lealiifano today spoke publicly for the first time since returning to rugby and revealed the shining light that spurned him on while pushing through rigorous chemotherapy treatment in Melbourne.

"It helped me massively to know that he had zero awareness of what was going on," Lealiifano said of his son.

"To have him come into hospital and see his dad with no hair one day, no hair, no eyebrows and he still smiles and knows who you are, it's truly uplifting hey.

"You look in the mirror and you're actually sick but then you see your son and he makes you smile.