Christian Lealiifano stakes Rugby World Cup claim

Rugby

Brumbies coach Dan McKellar believes Christian Lealiifano should be recalled to wear the Wallabies No.10 jersey at the World Cup later this year.

The 31-year-old has been in sensational form this Super Rugby season and has helped guide the Brumbies to the top of the Australian conference.

Lealiifano played 19 Tests before he was diagnosed with cancer in 2017 and last week was invited to his first Wallabies camp since beating the illness.

He continued his stellar season with another complete performance against the Bulls on Friday and McKellar believes Lealiifano deserves a Wallabies recall after he orchestrated the 22-10 win.

“He’s been outstanding, just consistently good every week and off the back of his defence, his leadership and direction,” McKellar said.

“There was a key point in the game there with 10 or 15 minutes to go and he just had the boys connected and we do a lot of work on that, just delivering a key message, his leadership has been outstanding.

“He’d be my 10 (at the World Cup), but I’m a little bit biased.”

Lealiifano was one of the final players cut for the 2015 World Cup and is determined to finish is remarkable comeback story in a gold jersey.

He was one of four playmakers invited into Wallabies camp last week and will compete for a World Cup berth against NSW’s Bernard Foley and Melbourne duo Matt Toomua and Quade Cooper.

Seven-Test Wallaby Pete Samu was a surprise omission from the Australian camp but McKellar believes it will the last one he misses after a strong performance against the Bulls.

“Pete is a pretty cruisy guy and was disappointed no doubt, but if he keeps playing well for the Brumbies and we go deep into the competition, selection will sort itself out,” McKellar said.

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