Super Rugby
Leali'ifano set to return for Brumbies
March 23, 2014
The Brumbies' Christian Lealiifano sprints away for the first try of the game, Chiefs v Brumbies, Super Rugby, Super Rugby final, Waikato Stadium, Hamilton, August 3, 2013
Christian Leali'ifano will make his return to the Brumbies after an ankle reconstruction ruled him out for the first five matches © Getty Images
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The injury-hit Brumbies are about to get a massive boost to their Super Rugby prospects, with proven match winner and Wallabies back Christian Leali'ifano set to return next week.

The Canberra-based franchise scored a gritty 25-15 home win over South Africa's Stormers on Saturday to move back to the top the Australian conference, one point ahead of the NSW Waratahs, who have played one less game.

Inside back Leali'ifano missed the Brumbies' first five Super games after undergoing an ankle reconstruction. He made a successful comeback in a Canberra club game on Saturday, scoring one try, setting up two more and kicking a couple of goals.

"He played 60 minutes of club rugby, he got through unscathed and will be available for selection next week," the Brumbies' director of rugby Laurie Fisher said. "He's very, very important in our squad. He's a senior player, a good leader not just in the backline, but the whole team. So I think that's a massive boost for us."

The Brumbies fought hard for a three tries to two win over the Stormers (Australia Only)

Leali'ifano was one of eight Brumbies unavailable for the Stormers game. Of the others, Wallabies centre Tevita Kuridrani is the only one expected to be available for Friday's clash with the Rebels in Melbourne, after he returns from a funeral in Fiji.

The only Brumby injured on Saturday was flanker Jarrad Butler, who came off with a head knock. Fisher anticipated the back-rower would be available for selection next week after undergoing the concussion protocols.

Against the Stormers, the Brumbies scored three tries to two in a attritional arm wrestle, as they chalked up a fourth straight victory. Winger Robbie Coleman crossed twice to make it four tries from as many games this season, while the Brumbies scrum forced the Stormers into conceding a penalty try on the bell.

"We weren't happy with the way we scrummed early on, I think the Stormers definitely got the best of us and probably caught us a little bit flat in that area," Brumbies captain and back-rower Ben Mowen said. "The pleasing thing was we spoke about that on the field and got an immediate reaction."

Stormers coach Allister Coetzee said the Brumbies set piece work was very good and he rated them among the best teams in the competition in that critical area.


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