Wallabies abroad: Lealiifano to make Ulster debut

International
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Christian Lealiifano will make his Irish debut this weekend, playing for Ulster in the Pro14.

Things won’t be entirely new for Lealiifano, with the Irish side lining up against South Africa’s Cheetahs, who were added to the Pro14 after being cut from Super Rugby this season.

Lealiifano will start at flyhalf, in his first game on a short-term loan deal with the Irish club.


He won’t be the only capped Wallaby potentially making his first Irish appearance, with Scott Fardy in the mix to feature for Leinster against the Newport Gwent Dragons.

TOP LEAGUE

George Smith and David Pocock faced off in Tokyo. Photo: InstagramDavid Pocock won’t have to wait until half-time to feature for the Wild Knights this weekend, starting at seven for the competition powerhouses.

He’ll be running on alongside two-Test lock Daniel Heenan and flyhalf Berrick Barnes when they face off against the Toshiba Brave Lupus, with Digby Ioane coming off the bench.

Matt Giteau will start at 12 for Suntory, after a starring performance in last week’s outing, teaming up with fellow former Wallaby George Smith, who will be at no. 8.

Adam Ashley-Cooper will be injected off the pine for Kobelco Steel in their matchup against Kubota.

PREMIERSHIP

A host of Aussies are in the mix to play in England this weekend, as the Premiership kicks off for 2017-18.

Dave Dennis will start at blindside flanker as the Chiefs begin their title defence in the UK Premiership this weekend, with Lachie Turner coming off the bench.

Will Skelton will be in contention to resume his stint with Saracens, while Matt Toomua looks likely to continue his return from injury, the inside back excited for a second chance.

“It’s a bit like ‘Tigers Tale 2’ for me after last season,” Toomua said to the Leicester Tigers website.

“It’s great to get back out on the field.

“It was good to get a first game out of the way and have something to build on. I was a bit lost in that first game against Treviso but felt a lot better on Friday.

“I’m very excited now looking forward to the new season, It’s been a long time coming.

“It’ll be great to kick off again, with a big crowd in.”

Skelton could face off against a former Waratahs teammate when they take on Northampton in the series opener, with Rob Horne joining the Saints this season.

TOP 14

The Top 14 teams are yet to be named, but plenty of Aussies could feature in the third round.