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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 World Cup 2015

Round 1
Sat, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
ENG 0vs FJI 0 05:00Twic
TGA 0vs GEO 0 21:00Kholm
IRE 0vs CAN 0 23:30MilS
Sun, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs JPN 0 01:45Brig
FRA 0vs ITA 0 05:00Twic
SAM 0vs USA 0 21:00Brig
WAL 0vs URU 0 23:30MilS
Mon, 21 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs ARG 0 01:45Wemb
Wed, 23 SepTimes shown AEST
SCO 0vs JPN 0 23:30Kholm
Thu, 24 SepTimes shown AEST
AUS 0vs FJI 0 01:45MilS
FRA 0vs ROM 0 05:00Olym
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs NAM 0 05:00Olym
Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
ARG 0vs GEO 0 01:45Kholm
ITA 0vs CAN 0 23:30Ella
Sun, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs SAM 0 01:45Villa
ENG 0vs WAL 0 05:00Twic
AUS 0vs URU 0 21:00Villa
SCO 0vs USA 0 23:30Ella
Mon, 28 SepTimes shown AEST
IRE 0vs ROM 0 01:45Wemb
Wed, 30 SepTimes shown AEST
TGA 0vs NAM 0 01:45Sand
Fri, 02 OctTimes shown AEST
WAL 0vs FJI 0 01:45MilS
FRA 0vs CAN 0 05:00stadium:mk
Sat, 03 OctTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs GEO 0 05:00MilS
SAM 0vs JPN 0 23:30stadium:mk
Sun, 04 OctTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs SCO 0 01:45St James' Park
ENG 0vs AUS 0 06:00Twic
Mon, 05 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 0vs TGA 0 00:30KPS
IRE 0vs ITA 0 02:45Olym
Wed, 07 OctTimes shown AEDT
CAN 0vs ROM 0 02:45KPS
FJI 0vs URU 0 06:00stadium:mk
Thu, 08 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 0vs USA 0 02:45Olym
NAM 0vs GEO 0 06:00Sand
Sat, 10 OctTimes shown AEDT
NZL 0vs TGA 0 06:00St James' Park
Sun, 11 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAM 0vs SCO 0 00:30St James' Park
AUS 0vs WAL 0 02:45Twic
ENG 0vs URU 0 06:00Manch
ARG 0vs NAM 0 22:00KPS
Mon, 12 OctTimes shown AEDT
ITA 0vs ROM 0 00:30Sand
FRA 0vs IRE 0 02:45MilS
USA 0vs JPN 0 06:00Kholm
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sun, 18 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinB 0vs RUpA 0 02:00Twic
WinC 0vs RUpD 0 06:00MilS
WinD 0vs RUpC 0 23:00MilS
Mon, 19 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinA 0vs RUpB 0 02:00Twic
Sun, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF1 0vs WQF2 0 02:00Twic
Mon, 26 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF3 0vs WQF4 0 03:00Twic
Sat, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
LSF1 0vs LSF2 0 07:00Olym
Sun, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
WSF1 0vs WSF2 0 03:00Twic
View All Fixtures
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
France 0 0 0 0 0 0
New Zealand 0 0 0 0 0 0
Canada 0 0 0 0 0 0
Tonga 0 0 0 0 0 0
Japan 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Romania 0 0 0 0 0 0
Argentina 0 0 0 0 0 0
England 0 0 0 0 0 0
Georgia 0 0 0 0 0 0
Scotland 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Australia 0 0 0 0 0 0
USA 0 0 0 0 0 0
Italy 0 0 0 0 0 0
Ireland 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Fiji 0 0 0 0 0 0
Samoa 0 0 0 0 0 0
Namibia 0 0 0 0 0 0
South Africa 0 0 0 0 0 0
Wales 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
 

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