Brumbies confirm Lealiifano re-signing

Super Rugby
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Brumbies playmaker Christian Lealiifano will return to the Brumbies in 2019 after inking a new deal with the club.

Lealiifano was off-contract at the end of the season and had committed to Japanese Top League team Toyota Industries Shuttles for the 2018-19 season, but his future beyond then had been unclear.

That has all changed with the Brumbies announcing a new deal on Friday.

Lealiifano said his desire to 

"The biggest factor was just the excitement I have for the future of the club," he said.

"I love the young talent coming through and being able to lead the side as well was really special for me and obviously having a break halfway through (the season) there was nice as well so I guess I'm just excited about the future and what it holds and hopefully I can still add value to that."

The 30-year-old has been mulling the decision for months but hinted before the side's final Super Rugby match this season that he was leaning towards staying in Canberra.

He has been part of some successful Super Rugby sides, including the 2013 team that made the final, but his passion for the team goes beyond just trying to win a title.

"Winning a Super Rugby title's always something that drives you and motivates you," he said.

"Each day it's something I've been chasing for a little while now.

"I got really, really close in 2013 and that's something that stuck with me a little bit how close we got and then just the belief I've got in the club moving forward and the group that's being put together now it's something that's really, really special and something that excites me as the older head now, looking at the younger guys coming through.

"It's something that I really want to be a part of. A Super Rugby title was obviously the end goal, now it's just about trying to make sure the Brumbies are in a better place as well for when it is my time to finish up."

Lealiifano's likely retention is a major boon for the Brumbies, who would have been on the hunt for a world-class playmaker had Lealiifano opted not to return, after already waving goodbye to regular centre Kyle Godwin.

The 30-year-old's leadership is also invaluable for the Brumbies and his contribution to the club has become even more important after he missed the 2017 season recovering from Leukaemia. 

Lealiifano came back to the Brumbies after a stint with Pro 14 side Ulster last summer and slotted back into a regular starting spot at 10.