Lealiifano blow for Brumbies and Wallabies
May 6, 2012
The Brumbies' Christian Lealiifano is stretchered from the field after breaking his ankle © Getty Images
Brumbies fly-half Christian Lealiifano's hopes of a Wallabies call-up have been dashed with confirmation that he broke his ankle during his side's Super Rugby victory over the Waratahs on Saturday.
Lealiifano was taken from the field on a stretcher at the end of the Brumbies' 23-6 victory and subsequent scans revealed the serious nature of the injury. The in-form 24-year-old had been on course for a first Test cap when the Wallabies' tackle Scotland and Wales next month but is now not expected to play again this year.
"That's it, he's gone for the season,'' said coach Jake White after watching his side take a big step towards the play-offs with their sixth win of the campaign. "However bad it is, I'm not sure, but it's bad enough to know he won't be playing for the rest of the year," he added.
"It is not ideal. We spoke about it in the change-room. It is just another challenge that gets chucked at this group. And they've done well, every challenge they've stepped up to the plate.
"Christian, knowing him like I do, he's not going to want us to get into a downward spiral and get negative. He is going to want us to stay positive. That's exactly what we are going to do," said White.
Brumbies captain Ben Mowen admitted Lealiifano's season-ending injury overshadowed what had been a solid victory over their Australian rivals. "It's a little bit of a sour point on what was a really good night's performance," he said.
The Brumbies are nine points clear of the Waratahs at the top of the Australian conference with eight games to go, and look well-placed to qualify for the play-offs for the first time since 2004.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
"At the crux of this England team is a lack of fear, they are not afraid to throw playbooks out of the window." Tom Hamilton reports from Twickenham
"These little deft touches, the nuances O'Driscoll has perfected are what Ireland will miss most." Tom Hamilton on Brian O'Driscoll's final Test in Dublin
After Brian O'Driscoll's emotional final Ireland appearance on home soil, and seeing the Six Nations boil down to a three-horse race, we bring you the Weekend in PIctures
Last year's thrashing at the hands of Wales was not the first time England have fallen to their rivals. Scrum Sevens looks at whether they have bounced back the following year