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Lealiifano tips Auelua for big season


David Polkinghorne

Fotu Auelua lifts weights at Brumbies pre-season training.

Fotu Auelua lifts weights at Brumbies pre-season training. Photo: Karleen Minney

IF SUPER Rugby teams were worried about Fotu Auelua's big hitting last season, they should be downright scared next year.

ACT Brumbies fly-half Christian Lealiifano said there were two factors that would make Auelua a scary proposition for opposing teams next season - he's had a full pre-season under his belt and new collision coach Brian Smith has started fine-tuning the human wrecking-ball's tackling technique.

Auelua joined the Brumbies in February from Japanese club NTT Communications, but brought a knee injury with him that limited his pre-season even further.

But when he was fit, he unleashed his 1.89-metre, 115-kilogram physique to devastating effect - most notably in Johannesburg, where he left several Lions wishing he'd stayed in Japan.

Lealiifano predicted a fit Auelua would be even better after a full pre-season.

''His game in general is going to be quite scary and I'm looking forward to seeing him roll out next year with a solid fitness base and just being around the group longer,'' he said of the loose forward.

Lealiifano returned to full training ''three or four'' weeks ago as he continued his comeback from a gruesome dislocated and fractured ankle he suffered against the NSW Waratahs in May.

He also had shoulder surgery in the off-season.

But the Brumbies No.10 said he was ''back on track'' and raring to go for next year.

''Everything's holding up really well,'' Lealiifano said. ''I'm trying to get back to better than what I was before and everything's on track.

''There's still a little bit more to do just after the New Year, but [I'm] pretty happy with where I'm at at the moment.''

He said Auelua wasn't the only Brumbies player benefiting from Smith's expertise.

The former NRL coach has been working with the squad on its tackling technique for two weeks.

Originally, the Brumbies tried to sign Newcastle hooker Danny Buderus for the role, but the ARL Commission quashed the idea within hours of its announcement.

Lealiifano said Smith had been studying the new code and bouncing ideas off players and coaches about what would and wouldn't work in Super Rugby.

''The boys have really bought in to what he's doing and ripped in, and it's only going to make us better as a side,'' he said.

''We're already seeing great improvements in the boys' tackling techniques.''

While Smith has been helping Lealiifano with his tackling, Damien Hill has been helping with his kicking.

It's an area the fly-half said he needed to work on as his ankle healed.

He said he had been ''frustrated'' at times with having to take it easy, so as not to do any damage during his rehabilitation.

And with Brumbies coach Jake White's willingness to bring in experts from other football codes, Lealiifano did not rule out working with someone from the AFL in the future.

The All Blacks have already tapped into that expertise, with former Sydney Swans player Michael Byrne employed as their kicking coach.

''We've got Damien Hill, who's done some work with the Wests Tigers, he comes in once a week and does some kicking with us, and he's been phenomenal with my kicking last season,'' he said.

''If we could tap into some AFL guys that would be great, but we've got Damien Hill at the moment and he's doing quite well.''

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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