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Lealiifano: 28-year-old has been diagnosed with leukaemia.
Lealiifano: 28-year-old has been diagnosed with leukaemia.
Image: PA Archive/Press Association Images

Lealiifano will be offered coaching role if cancer treatment stops him from playing

The Brumbies want to keep Lealiifano involved as much as possible.
Sep 5th 2016, 12:26 PM 4,698 1

AUSTRALIA’S CHRISTIAN LEALIIFANO could join the ACT Brumbies coaching staff next year if illness puts his playing career on hold, the club has said.

Lealiifano, 28, was released from a Canberra hospital last week, with reports saying he may have a bone-marrow transplant to continue his treatment for leukaemia.

It is unclear whether he will be able to play next year, but if he can’t take the field the Brumbies said they would offer him a position on their staff as a potential back-line mentor.

“If Christian can’t play we’d certainly love him to do a bit of the coaching stuff and potentially with the back line,” Brumbies coach Stephen Larkham told the Canberra Times newspaper over the weekend.

“He’s got some long-term plans to go into coaching so we may dabble with that. But we have to wait and see what happens and how he recovers.

“I think it would be great to have him around the team in some sort of capacity. But that will depend on how Christian feels more than anything else.”

Larkham said he had regularly visited Lealiifano since he was diagnosed with the cancer that affects the blood and bone marrow.

Reports said Lealiifano had finished an initial round of chemotherapy and was allowed to spend time at home with his family and friends in the past week.

The next stage of treatment could include a bone marrow transplant and a suitable donor has been identified, the Canberra Times reported.

Inside-back Lealiifano has played 19 Tests for Australia and 117 Super Rugby games for the Brumbies.

© AFP 2016

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