Rugby Championship

Lealiifano awarded top Brumbies prize

2016-09-03 12:49
Christian Lealiifano (Gallo Images)

Canberra - Christian Lealiifano was awarded the Brumbies' top prize at an emotional club function on Friday as he continues his battle against leukaemia.

Lealiifano's diagnosis was announced by the Canberra-based Super Rugby team a month ago, prompting an outpouring of global support for the 28-year-old playmaker.

Named the Brett Robinson Players' Player of the Year and also Best Brumbies Back, co-captain Lealiifano was released from hospital this week after a first round of chemotherapy.

A possible bone marrow transplant looms for the 19-cap international, who can play flyhalf and inside centre.

"Christian had a lot of stuff on his plate this year, outside rugby as well," Brumbies coach Stephen Larkham said in comments published by Fairfax Media.

"But he stood up as a leader and was the motivator when it was required. On top of all of that he had a fantastic season. He played just about every minute of every game.

"To do that is a great achievement in itself, but the way he played and controlled the team was outstanding."

Lealiifano's diagnosis rocked his Brumbies and Wallabies team-mates, a number of whom shaved their heads in a show of support.

"Initially, it was quite a big shock for a number of players," added Larkham, also the Wallabies backs coach.

"The more time we've had coming to terms with it, the more comfortable the players are with the situation and how Christian is tracking.

"He was a bit flat after the chemo treatment so there were some physical changes, but when the boys are talking to him he's full of energy.

"He's the same 'Bruz'. He's always smiling. And there's a lot of positive news about this and the chances of curing it has given the boys a lot of hope."

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