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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."

HuffPost Australia

Rugby World Cup 2015

Round 1
Sat, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
ENG 35vs FJI 11 Report Stats
TGA 10vs GEO 17 Report Stats
IRE 50vs CAN 7 Report Stats
Sun, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 32vs JPN 34 Report Stats
FRA 32vs ITA 10 Report Stats
SAM 25vs USA 16 Report Stats
WAL 54vs URU 9 Report Stats
Mon, 21 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 26vs ARG 16 Report Stats
Wed, 23 SepTimes shown AEST
SCO 45vs JPN 10 Report Stats
Thu, 24 SepTimes shown AEST
AUS 28vs FJI 13 Report Stats
FRA 38vs ROM 11 Report Stats
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 58vs NAM 14 Report Stats
Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
ARG 54vs GEO 9 Report Stats
ITA 23vs CAN 18 Report Stats
Sun, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 46vs SAM 6 Report Stats
ENG 25vs WAL 28 Report Stats
AUS 65vs URU 3 Report Stats
SCO 39vs USA 16 Report Stats
Mon, 28 SepTimes shown AEST
IRE 44vs ROM 10 Report Stats
Wed, 30 SepTimes shown AEST
TGA 35vs NAM 21 Report Stats
Fri, 02 OctTimes shown AEST
WAL 23vs FJI 13 Report Stats
FRA 41vs CAN 18 Report Stats
Sat, 03 OctTimes shown AEST
NZL 43vs GEO 10 Report Stats
SAM 5vs JPN 26 Report Stats
Sun, 04 OctTimes shown AEST
SAF 34vs SCO 16 Report Stats
ENG 13vs AUS 33 Report Stats
Mon, 05 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 45vs TGA 16 Report Stats
IRE 16vs ITA 9 Report Stats
Wed, 07 OctTimes shown AEDT
CAN 15vs ROM 17 Report Stats
FJI 47vs URU 15 Report Stats
Thu, 08 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 64vs USA 0 Report Stats
NAM 16vs GEO 17 Stats
Sat, 10 OctTimes shown AEDT
NZL 47vs TGA 9 Report Stats
Sun, 11 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAM 33vs SCO 36 Report Stats
AUS 15vs WAL 6 Report Stats
ENG 60vs URU 3 Stats
ARG 64vs NAM 19 Report Stats
Mon, 12 OctTimes shown AEDT
ITA 32vs ROM 22 Report Stats
FRA 9vs IRE 24 Report Stats
USA 18vs JPN 28 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sun, 18 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 23vs WAL 19 Stats
NZL 62vs FRA 13 Report Stats
IRE 20vs ARG 43 Report Stats
Mon, 19 OctTimes shown AEDT
AUS 35vs SCO 34 Stats
Sun, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 18vs NZL 20 Stats
Mon, 26 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 15vs AUS 29 Stats
Sat, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 24vs ARG 13 Stats
Sun, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
NZL 34vs AUS 17 Stats
View All Fixtures
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Australia 4 4 0 0 106 17
Wales 4 3 1 0 49 13
England 4 2 2 0 58 11
Fiji 4 1 3 0 -17 5
Uruguay 4 0 4 0 -196 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
South Africa 4 3 1 0 120 16
Scotland 4 3 1 0 43 14
Japan 4 3 1 0 -2 12
Samoa 4 1 3 0 -55 6
USA 4 0 4 0 -106 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
New Zealand 4 4 0 0 125 19
Argentina 4 3 1 0 109 15
Georgia 4 2 2 0 -70 8
Tonga 4 1 3 0 -60 6
Namibia 4 0 4 0 -104 1
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Ireland 4 4 0 0 99 18
France 4 3 1 0 57 14
Italy 4 2 2 0 -14 10
Romania 4 1 3 0 -69 4
Canada 4 0 4 0 -73 2
View all

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