Wallabies shave heads in Lealiifano tribute

The Rugby Championship
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Christian Lealiifano won’t be at ANZ Stadium on Saturday night but four Wallabies will make sure his presence is felt in the first Bledisloe.

Matt Toomua, David Pocock, Matt Giteau and Will Genia all shaved their heads this week in a mark of respect to fan favourite Lealiifano, who was diagnosed with leukaemia a fortnight ago.

Matt Toomua has shaved his head. Photo: ARU Media/Stu WalmsleyGenia said Lealiifano would be in the back of all of their minds on Saturday night, as he undergoes treatment in Canberra.

“He's one of us, one of the boys so he's always in our thoughts and our prayers,” he said.

“He's a good bloke so the guys will definitely have him in their thoughts when we get out there on Saturday.”

Will Genia is back to full fitness. Photo: ARU Media/Stu WalmsleyThe Wallabies and the rugby community have led an outpouring of support for Lealiifano since his diagnosis, with players visiting him in hospital and tweeting messages to the Brumbies captain.

Toomua, Israel Folau, Allan Alaalatoa and Scott Sio all visited Lealiifano in Canberra last week on the Wallabies day off.

David Pocock has gone bare for Christian Lealiifano. Photo: ARU Media/Stu WalmsleyUpon news of his diagnosis, Pocock tweeted,” Really tough 24 hours trying to come to terms with news about Christian. One of the most respected and loved players I've played alongside.

“I know he'll be strong through this and Brumbies family will be supporting him and his family however we can.”

The Wallabies take on the All Blacks at ANZ Stadium on Saturday night, kicking off at 8:05pm AEST.