Fly-half Christian Lealiifano will miss six months of rugby after dislocating and fracturing his right ankle in the final minutes of Saturday’s victory over the NSW Waratahs at Canberra Stadium.
The 25 year old will undergo surgery in Canberra on Monday having had his leg caught under a NSW attacker after the siren.
It’s a massive blow for Lealiifano, who is among the competition’s best when it comes to point scoring (fifth), conversions (fifth), penalties (sixth), try-assists (eighth), line-breaks (10th) and line-break assists (third).
Head Coach Jake White said it was a terrible blow for both his side and his young playmaker. White had only last week suggested Lealiifano would be a worthy recipient of a Wallabies jersey off the back of his career best form over the last 10 weeks.
“That’s it, he’s gone for the season. What6 ever the outcome of the surgery he won’t be back for the Brumbies this year which is a big blow for both Christian and the team,” White said after the game on Saturday night.
“It’s no ideal, we spoke about in the change room and it’s not great but it’s just another challenge that’s been thrown up to the group. As far as fly-half stocks go we’ve still got Robbie Coleman and Zack Holmes so there are still options for us there.
“We’ve got to trust our systems from here on in. The last thing Christian would want us to do would be to drop our heads. When Matt was injured Christian just got on with it and I think he’d be disappointed if we didn’t do the same.”
More information will be available once Lealiifano’s surgery is complete.
H/W: 179cm, 95kg
DOB: 24/09/1987, Auckland, New Zealand
Senior Club: Tuggeranong, ACT
Super Rugby Caps: 53
Super Rugby Points: 139 (5t, 18c, 26p)
Super Rugby Debut: 2008 v Crusaders, Christchurch