Lealiifano named to face Canes

Super Rugby
by Sam Phillips

Christian Lealiifano will complete an incredible comeback to Super Rugby on Friday, having been named on the bench for the Brumbies' quarter final clash with the Hurricanes.

It is the final step in his remarkable return to rugby, having been diagnosed with leukaemia 11 months ago.

The 29-year-old has played just one full match since returning to the field with the Brumbies during the June break and that was a fourth grade match with Tuggeranong Vikings.

But the Brumbies have been extremely cautious in the lead up to his return, holding him out of their last two starts due to a hamstring strain.Lealiifano will return to Super Rugby from the bench on Friday. Photo: Getty ImagesNow, coach Stephen Larkham believes the star playmaker is ready to return.

Lealiifano's inclusion is one of several changes to Larkham's side, which is essentially the same team that fell to the Reds a fortnight ago.

That was always the plan, given the brains trust rested several stars in Saturday's loss to the Chiefs.

Scott Sio, Josh Mann-Rae and Allan Alaalatoa all come back into the front row, with Rory Arnold overcoming a shoulder knock to start alongside captain Sam Carter in the second row.

Chris Alcock and Jordan Smiler resume regular backrow duties with Scott Fardy, who was one of a handful of starters that made the trip to Waikato.

Joe Powell returns to join Wharenui Hawera in the halves, while Tevita Kuridrani comes back in outside of Andrew Smith.

James Dargaville gets the nod on the wing with Aidan Toua's season over, with Henry Speight and Tom Banks filling the other spots in the back three.

The Brumbies take on the Hurricanes at GIO Stadium on Friday night, kicking off at 7:35pm AEST, broadcast LIVE on FOX SPORTS and on radio at RUGBY.com.au.


Brumbies team to take on the Hurricanes

1. Scott Sio

2. Josh Mann-Rea

3. Allan Alaalatoa

4. Rory Arnold

5. Sam Carter (C)

6. Scott Fardy

7. Chris Alock

8. Jordan Smiler

9. Joe Powell

10. Wharenui Hawera

11. James Dargaville

12. Andrew Smith

13. Tevita Kuridrani

14. Henry Speight

15. Tom Banks


16. Robbie Abel

17. Ben Alexander

18. Leslie Leuluaialii-Makin

19. Blake Enever

20. Jarrad Butler

21. Tomas Cubelli

22. Jordan Jackson-Hope

23. Christian Lealiifano