Larkham full of praise for Lealiifano

Brumbies coach Stephen Larkham hailed Christian Lealiifano after the centre made his comeback in Friday’s quarter-final loss to the Hurricanes in Canberra.

Lealiifano returned to action less than one year after being diagnosed with leukemia. He was set to play against the Reds in Brisbane two weeks ago but injured his hamstring on the eve of that match and the Brumbies opted not to risk him in their final regular season match against the Chiefs last weekend.

Lealiifano came on earlier than anticipated against the Hurricanes, after a head knock ended James Dargaville’s game, but Larkham said it was pivotal on and off the field.

“We weren’t planning on bringing him on at half-time but we were certainly bringing him on at some stage in the second half and it was good to see him out there,” he said.

“It was a little bit emotional to see him in the change rooms take his bib off and I thought he played exceptionally well.

“He had a number of nice touches on the field, a couple of good carries, a couple of kicks.

“Hopefully we’re going to see a lot more of him next year.”

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