Christian Lealiifano is an inspirational figure at the Brumbies. Picture: Rohan Thomson
Christian Lealiifano is an inspirational figure at the Brumbies. Picture: Rohan Thomson

Christian values: Brumbies boosted by crucial signing

BRUMBIES co-captain Christian Lealiifano has put an end to uncertainty surrounding his future by signing a new one-year deal with the Super Rugby club.

The 30-year-old playmaker, who has played all of his 133 Super Rugby games for the ATC-based franchise, will   return for the 2019 cam[after a stint with Japanese Top League team Toyota Shokki.

"I am really excited to have another year with the Brumbies," Lealiifano said after the deal was formally announced.

Lealiifano had been off contract and his re-signing should boost the Brumbies' hopes of returning to the Super Rugby finals next season.

His retention is big given Brumbies coach Dan McKellar has lost inside centre Kyle Godwin to Irish club Connacht and experienced playmakers are a precious commodity in Australian rugby.

Lealiifano, who has played 19 Tests for the Wallabies, remains hopeful about a fairytale Test recall for the 2019 World Cup after kicking leukaemia to touch last year.

Earlier this month, Lealiifano said he was thankful that the Brumbies were allowing him to take up a short-term contract in Japan.

Only Ben Alexander (154), George Smith (142) and George Gregan (136) have played more games for the Canberra club.

"I loved playing for this town and city for a long time and seeing this group grow," Lealiifano said after hoisting the Dan Vickerman Cup following the win over the Waratahs.

"I've always loved it here.

"We'll hopefully have a decision soon with what we're going to do, but I'm glad that the club are letting me go to experience a different rugby set-up as well and a different culture.

"I've always known that it's a special place. Every time I put the jersey on it's special.

The Brumbies' Christian Lealiifano hoists the Dan Vickerman Cup. Picture: Jenny Evans/Getty Images
The Brumbies' Christian Lealiifano hoists the Dan Vickerman Cup. Picture: Jenny Evans/Getty Images

"I take a pic of it every time I get in the change room because you never know if it's your last.

"Whether we got a result or not, it's always special with this group of guys and seeing the growth over the year has really encouraged me as well to grow as a leader and be able to help encourage the young guys and help the team move forward."

After taking the Brumbies coaching reins from Stephen Larkham, McKellar worked hard to spice up the team's conservative game plan.

It took some time to bed in as the Brumbies missed the finals for the first time since 2012 but they finished the season with four wins from their last five games, including stylish victories over the Bulls in Pretoria, the Hurricanes in Canberra and Waratahs in Sydney.

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