Lealiifano ‘ so close’ to dream comeback
CHRISTIAN Lealiifano has the most insignificant hamstring twinge in sports history simply because of what he has overcome to reach Super Rugby standard again.
What are a few lousy muscle fibres not following the script compared with the inspirational manner in which he has tackled leukaemia?
The former Wallaby will be water boy for the Brumbies tonight at Suncorp Stadium because of the niggle at Wednesday night training in Canberra.
“In our minds ( as the coaching staff) he was in but we hadn’t told the players,” coach Steve Larkham said of how close Lealiifano had been to a comeback.
More than 25 family members and friends will still be at Suncorp Stadium tonight because the niggle scuttled things too late.
The upshot is that centreflyhalf Lealiifano is now a serious contender to play against the Chiefs in Hamilton on Saturday week to prepare for a role in a quarter- final in Canberra on July 21.
“He’s spoken to the specialists in Melbourne about going back to full- time work ... and they knew what his full- time work was,” Larkham said.
“And they cleared him to do whatever he wanted to do as a full- time professional athlete.
“Obviously, we are 100 per cent guided by Christian ( on how he feels) but I can say he’s been one of our best trainers for a long time and with that old energy.”
This is so much more than a “footy player beats illness” story because of the type of person Lealiifano is.
“He’s a special player,” Larkham said.