Christian Lealiifano backed for Wallabies pivot
April 5, 2013
Christian Lealiifano kicked the brumbies to victory over the Bulls in round seven © Getty Images
Christian Lealiifano gets a chance to audition for the Wallabies No. 10 jumper with a starring performance for the Brumbies against the Southern Kings on Friday night.
Brumbies coach Jake White has reshuffled his backline to face the Kings, moving Lealiifano to fly-half, instead of the rested Matt Toomua, and recalling Pat McCabe to the No. 12 jumper, and former Wallabies coach John Connolly believes the pivot can launch a strong challenge for the Test spot against the British & Irish Lions.
Queensland Reds playmaker Quade Cooper is believed to have the inside running for the Wallabies jumper, given his improving form outside Will Genia, but he must still win over team-mates and officials after his "toxic" comments about the Wallabies last season.
Toomua has improved for the Brumbies this season, but Connolly feels Lealiifano can press his claims as he was on the cusp of Test selection in 2012 before an ankle injury in May ended his campaign.
''There's no doubt [Lealiifano] can be [Australia's] No.10, but he has to prove it,'' Connolly said in an interview with Fairfax Media. ''You would say it's down to Cooper, Toomua and Lealiifano for the Wallabies … Christian could have more to offer in his all-round game.
''He's the dark horse because he's been playing inside centre, he's a young player on the way up and the talent is evident. The challenge is the Test level. I think he will make it and he'll be in the Wallabies squad.''
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