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Lealiifano upbeat after surgery


Chris Dutton

Injured Brumbies flyhalf Christian Lealiifano is stretchered into the first aid room as he sings the club song with his teammates last week.

Injured Brumbies flyhalf Christian Lealiifano is stretchered into the first aid room as he sings the club song with his teammates last week. Photo: Graham Tidy

A DEVASTATED Christian Lealiifano will draw inspiration from NSW Waratah Drew Mitchell's recovery from a broken ankle as he begins the painstaking six-month journey to get back on the field.

Lealiifano had surgery on his broken and dislocated ankle last week after his season came to an abrupt halt in the ACT Brumbies' win over the Waratahs at Canberra Stadium.

It came at the worst possible time for the talented playmaker with most predicting him to get a Wallabies call up next month.

But after being inundated by messages of support from players who had suffered similar injuries, Lealiifano was upbeat about his recovery.

Mitchell dislocated his ankle last year but made a miraculous return to play for the Wallabies at the World Cup.

He was one of several who spoke to Lealiifano with Colin Slade and Jono Lance also helping the 24-year-old come to grips with his injury.

Lealiifano is also using mentor Julian Huxley's recovery from a brain tumour to help him through the toughest time of his career.

''It's a freak thing that has happened and I believe these types of things happen for a reason,'' Lealiifano said.

''Hux came back from something far more serious than I've got and there are so much worse things in life than what I'm going through.

''Drew came to me when I was on the happy gas and just said that it's a long way back but he knew I would come back better and stronger from it.

''He's walking proof that you can get back and seeing guys being able to overcome it gives me a good outlook.''

Lealiifano is couch-bound for the next week until he gets his stitches out.

He will then have six weeks on crutches before slowly beginning his recovery.

Lealiifano's horror injury happened when his foot got caught under teammate Andrew Smith in the last minute of the clash with the Waratahs.

He still winces every time he sees the replay and describes it as ''yuk''.

In a sign of Lealiifano's popularity, the team then crowded around his stretcher in the medical room to sing the Brumbies' song after their victory.

He was in career best form and a key to the team's impressive resurgence. After spending the first period of his career playing behind Stephen Larkham and Matt Giteau, Lealiifano emerged as a key part of the back line.

The Brumbies went on an international search to find a replacement with Matt Toomua also out for the rest of the season.

Wallabies great Larkham was floated as a possible option and while Lealiifano was confident the backs coach would ''kill it'' if he made a comeback, he backed Zack Holmes and Robbie Coleman to step up at flyhalf.

The Brumbies have also recruited former Waratah Peter Hewat to add experience to their back line.

Lealiifano is targeting a return to the field for pre-season training.

''I'm loving the feel of the Brumbies at the moment and I just want to be a part of it,'' Lealiifano said. ''If I can come back for pre-season … I will be happy.''

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 vs AUS 01:30Twic
USA vs NZL 07:00Soldier Field
View All Fixtures
Round 6
Sun, 09 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA vs SAM 01:00Stadio Del Duca
ENG vs NZL 01:30Twic
WAL vs AUS 01:30MilS
FRA vs FJI 03:45Stade Velodrome
IRE vs RSA 04:30Lansdowne Road
SCO vs ARG 04:30Murrayfield Stadium
View All Fixtures
Round 7
Sun, 16 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA vs ARG 01:00Stadio Comunale Luigi Ferraris
ENG vs RSA 01:30Twic
WAL vs FJI 01:30MilS
SCO vs NZL 04:30Murrayfield Stadium
FRA vs AUS 07:00StdF
Mon, 17 NovTimes shown AEDT
IRE vs GEO 01:30Lansdowne Road
View All Fixtures
Round 8
Sun, 23 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA vs RSA 01:00Stadio Plebiscito
SCO vs TGA 01:30Rugby Park
IRE vs AUS 03:30Lansdowne Road
WAL vs NZL 04:30MilS
ENG vs SAM 06:00Twic
FRA vs ARG 07:00StdF
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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