No fairy­tale for Leali­ifano’s come­back

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - IAIN PAYTEN HUR­RI­CANES BRUMBIES HUR­RI­CANES

THE in­spi­ra­tional re­turn of Chris­tian Leali­ifano wasn’t enough to lift the Brumbies to an up­set win over the Hur­ri­canes in the open­ing Su­per Rugby quar­ter- fi­nal in Can­berra.

Just un­der a year af­ter Leali­ifano was di­ag­nosed with leukaemia, the pop­u­lar Brumbies co- cap­tain was greeted with a stand­ing ova­tion when made his re­turn in the sec­ond half.

But there wasn’t to be a Hol­ly­wood- scripted fin­ish to the night, how­ever, with the Brumbies bat­tling bravely against the com­pe­ti­tion’s hottest side only to be over­come in the last quar­ter.

Un­fan­cied by most, the hosts led the Canes by a point at half­time and were un­lucky to not be lead­ing by more, with a try botched af­ter the half­time hooter and the vis­i­tors picking up a fluky try.

The Brumbies were forced to de­fend like ma­ni­acs in the third quar­ter as the Canes camped in their half for huge pe­ri­ods of time. The line held firm for a long time but even­tu­ally the fa­tigue took its toll on the Brumbies.

HEAVY CON­TACT: The Hur­ri­canes’ Ricky Ric­citelli is pulled down by the Brumbies’ James Dar­gav­ille. Pic­ture: AAP

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