Lealiifano return 'goes beyond rugby': Horne

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

The Wallabies have all taken inspiration from Christian Lealiifano’s return to rugby on Thursday night, just 10 months after a cancer diagnosis.

Lealiifano’s return is one that has been watched keenly by players and fans of rugby around the world, with his comeback just 10 months after a Leukaemia diagnosis an inspiration to many.

Wallabies prop Scott Sio said ahead of his own injury return last week that his teammate’s recovery put his concerns in perspective, and it’s an attitude that has permeated throughout many as the Brumbies playmaker has worked his way through his battle.

While many of the Test squad didn’t watch the game on Thursday night, Wallabies centre Rob Horne said Lealiifano’s comeback had touched them all.

“What a story,” he said.

“That’s incredible,  that not only he’s back to full health, he’s playing rugby and that’s, it’s just incredible.

“Hopefully, it keeps going and then can play some Super Rugby pretty soon and they’re in finals, so who knows what can happen.”

“It’s pretty special. That goes beyond rugby.”

The Brumbies returned from Singapore on Friday, and Lealiifano was ecstatic to be back in the thick of the action.

“It was fantastic to get back onto the field and play some rugby after such a long lay-off,” he said in a release.

“This is another step in the recovery process and it felt good to be on the field and fully involved again.

“I am concentrating totally on my recovery and my rugby at the moment and my focus is on helping the team and trying to get back to full health and my best as a rugby player.”

Holding Slide for rugby.com.auLealiifano said while his playing return was a huge boost, he is still only in the early stages of his recovery.

“My journey is very much an ongoing process and I am mindful of taking each day as it comes,” he said.

“The Brumbies, as an organisation, have been incredibly supportive towards me and my family and the messages I have received from players, officials and supporters have been overwhelming.

“I would like to take the opportunity to thank everybody who has supported me and sent me messages of goodwill since my diagnosis.

“I have been truly humbled by the amount of worldwide support I have received and I thank every one of you for that support."