MIRACLE MAN: Christian Lealiifano is back on the field after beating leukemia.
MIRACLE MAN: Christian Lealiifano is back on the field after beating leukemia. ROSS SETFORD

Lealiifano's miracle return to rugby

TEN months after being diagnosed with cancer, Christian Lealiifano has made his rugby return.

The 29-year-old Lealiifano was named on the replacements bench for the Brumbies' match with the Asia Pacific Dragons in Singapore on Thursday night.

He got on to the field in the 49th minute of a match designed to get the Brumbies up to speed for the resumption of the Super Rugby competition in July.

He assumed the kicking duties, landing five conversions as the Brumbies beat the Dragons 61-14.

Lealiifano, who has 19 caps for Australia and played for the Wallabies against the British and Irish Lions in 2013, has made a remarkable recovery since his leukemia diagnosis last August sent shockwaves throughout the worldwide rugby community.

Just last week, Brumbies teammate Scott Sio said he was inspired by Lealiifano's imminent comeback.

"He's been full training with the (Brumbies) team. He's been carving the starters up," Sio said.

"It's unreal to see. He hasn't lost a step and that's a credit to him in his rehab and his approach to coming back to the game.

"When Christian comes back, it'll be a pretty special moment for world rugby.

"His story and his journey in the last year has been so inspirational."

"He really puts a lot of these minor injuries into perspective. To see how willing he is to put his body on the line at training, to make everyone else better around him, it's truly great and it's something that I've tried really bringing into this camp.

"You rarely see him get angry or frustrated in the group. To be in the position he is as captain, you're following his every lead.

"To see how calm and collected he is with the adversity he's facing on a personal front, it really tells you to sit back and put everything in perspective.

"He's kept the group enthused off the field, as well. Just those little one per centres, remembering that every little part of the game is going to count at the end of the day, everything we do to prepare Monday to Friday is all going to count on the 80 minutes on Saturday."

The Brumbies are set to be the only Australian team in the Super Rugby finals.

News Corp Australia

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