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Christian Lealiifano says Wallabies jersey still No.1 for players

Christian Lealiifano, a SKINS ambassador and Australian Wallabies representative.

Christian Lealiifano, a SKINS ambassador and Australian Wallabies representative. Photo: SKINS

ACT Brumbies centre Christian Lealiifano says the Wallabies jersey is still the "driving factor" for Australian players and trumps rich European offers, adding that missing Test selection has ignited his international determination.

Lealiifano will return to Canberra next week to restart the club's Super Rugby finals bid and is confident he will be able to slot straight back into the line-up despite not playing for almost a month.

Lealiifano has been in camp with the Wallabies, but did not get the chance to play a Test against France, despite signing a new ARU deal last month.

The 26-year-old turned down lucrative overseas opportunities, instead aiming for the World Cup next year and success with the Brumbies.

But cashed-up French clubs are still trying to poach Australia's best talent, and Israel Folau is a target.

"The European offers are hard to turn down," Lealiifano said.

"But being in this Wallabies set-up again, and being in my set-up [just outside the game-day squad] you definitely don't take the Wallabies jersey for granted.

"It's still a driving factor for a lot of the boys and that's the focus ... I've got the challenge of making sure I'm ready as much as I can so that if I get an opportunity I'm ready to go."

Folau looms as one of the biggest threats to the Brumbies' hopes of making the finals in consecutive years.

The former NRL and AFL player has made a successful transition to rugby and has been linked to a move to France after the World Cup next year.

Folau is also leading the NSW Waratahs' championship hopes and the Brumbies will need to nullify his influence in their June 28 clash to keep their play-off ambitions alive.

"For the moment, it's about admiring him [in the Wallabies] and then next week we'll try to figure out how to stop him," Lealiifano said.

"We haven't really picked his brain or thought about [Super Rugby] next week."

Lealiifano was a Wallabies regular last season, but Brumbies teammate Matt Toomua has edged ahead in the battle for the Test No.12 jersey.

The duo will team up as the Brumbies' flyhalf-inside centre combination when they return to the capital for the last two games of the Super Rugby season.

The Brumbies need to win games against the Waratahs and Western Force on July 11 to guarantee a play-off berth for the second year in a row.

Despite not being picked in the Test series against France, Lealiifano has used his time in Wallabies camp to fine-tune his game and to rediscover his goal-kicking mojo.

He had a big part in the Brumbies' success last season, but has struggled to find the same form this year.

"I'm just waiting and doing all the things I can to be ready for the Brumbies and Wallabies," Lealiifano said.

"It is challenging mentally [when you're in a squad but not playing], but it's a challenge I enjoy. I haven't been in this situation before.

"You learn things, I've been able to pick up a few extra things on kicking and getting as much as I can out of this time, so I'm working on different areas in my game."

Rugby Internationals 2014

Round 1
Sat, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 18 vs TGA 18 Report Stats
FJI 25 vs ITA 14 Report Stats
NZL 20 vs ENG 15 Report Stats
AUS 50 vs FRA 23 Report Stats
Sun, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 47 vs WXV 13 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 29 Report Stats
USA 6 vs SCO 24 Report Stats
CAN 25 vs JPN 34 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sat, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 15 vs ITA Report Stats
FJI 45 vs TGA 17 Report Stats
NZL 28 vs ENG 27 Report Stats
AUS 6 vs FRA Report Stats
Sun, 15 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 38 vs WAL 16 Report Stats
CAN 17 vs SCO 19 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 23 Report Stats
USA 29 vs JPN 37 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 3
Sat, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
ARG 19 vs SCO 21 Report Stats
FJI 13 vs SAM 18 Report Stats
JPN 26 vs ITA 23 Report Stats
AUS 39 vs FRA 13 Stats
NZL 36 vs ENG 13 Report Stats
Sun, 22 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 31 vs WAL 30 Report Stats
USA 38 vs CAN 35 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 4
Sun, 29 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 55 vs SCO 6 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 5
Sun, 02 NovTimes shown AEDT
BAR 36 vs AUS 40 Report Stats
USA 6 vs NZL 74 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 6
Sun, 09 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 24 vs SAM 13 Report Stats
ENG 21 vs NZL 24 Report Stats
WAL 28 vs AUS 33 Report Stats
FRA 40 vs FJI 14 Report Stats
IRE 29 vs RSA 15 Report Stats
SCO 41 vs ARG 31 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 7
Sun, 16 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 18 vs ARG 20 Report Stats
ENG 28 vs RSA 31 Report Stats
WAL 17 vs FJI 13 Report Stats
SCO 16 vs NZL 24 Report Stats
FRA 29 vs AUS 26 Report Stats
Mon, 17 NovTimes shown AEDT
IRE 49 vs GEO 7 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 8
Sun, 23 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 6 vs RSA 22 Report Stats
SCO 37 vs TGA 12 Report Stats
IRE 26 vs AUS 23 Report Stats
WAL 16 vs NZL 34 Report Stats
ENG 28 vs SAM 9 Report Stats
FRA 13 vs ARG 18 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 9
Sun, 30 NovTimes shown AEDT
ENG vs AUS 01:30Twic
WAL vs RSA 01:30MilS
View All Fixtures
 
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