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Lealiifano in Barnes-storming form to make Wallabies

Date

Chris Dutton

Wallabies selectors should judge Christian Lealiifano on his impressive start to the Super Rugby season and not on his one-on-one battle with Berrick Barnes tomorrow night, ACT Brumbies coach Jake White says.

Lealiifano has put himself in contention for Test selection after leading the Brumbies to the top of the Australian conference after nine Super Rugby games, but faces a potential road-block tomorrow night against Barnes, a proven Wallabies flyhalf. The Brumbies have scored 16 tries in their past three matches and Lealiifano has been instrumental in the attacking onslaught.

Lealiifano started the season at inside centre, but made a permanent move to flyhalf when Matt Toomua ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament at Canberra Stadium in March.

His form has convinced White that the 24-year-old playmaker is ready to step up to the Test rugby arena.

''I'd like to believe what Christian has shown in the past couple of weeks is not going to get judged on one Saturday against Berrick Barnes,'' White said.

''Anyone who has watched him the whole season knows that [he's in good form] and I'd like to believe he won't get judged on one performance.

''He just has to keep doing what he's been doing and if he focuses on those things, everything will fall into place.''

The Brumbies have named the same back line for the third consecutive match.

While their back line is beginning to fire, constant injuries have forced the Waratahs to re-shuffle and they're still trying to their combinations.

Former Brumby Adam Ashley-Cooper has been named at fullback again and will pose a constant threat when the Waratahs attack. Barnes has moved to flyhalf after beginning the season at inside centre.

But Brumbies and Wallabies inside centre Pat McCabe expected the Waratahs back line to finally click in defence and attack.

''We've seen what they did last week [against the Crusaders] … if they defend with the same formation they'll be a lot better for the run,'' McCabe said.

''With combinations the first week is by far the hardest in getting an understanding of what guys do and getting comfortable each other. But if we run the plays we want to, hopefully we'll have some success.''

The Brumbies haven't beaten the Waratahs since 2009 and McCabe - yet to record a victory over NSW - said there was an ''extra edge'' and hype around the interstate match.

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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
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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
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ITA 0vs ROM 0 00:30Sand
FRA 0vs IRE 0 02:45MilS
USA 0vs JPN 0 06:00Kholm
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WQF3 0vs WQF4 0 03:00Twic
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Overall standings
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Overall standings
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