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Christian Lealiifano is on the move.

Former Ulster Rugby Fly-Half is on the move.

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Photo by Speed Media/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Plus500 Brumbies flyhalf Christian Lealiifano has confirmed that he will depart the ACT Brumbies at the conclusion of the 2019 Super Rugby season to take up a contract offer in Japan.

The Brumbies captain, who has played 148 times for the club will end his twelve-year association with the club at the culmination of the Brumbies campaign.

“This was a difficult decision for me and would like to thank the Brumbies for their support throughout my time at the club,” Lealiifano said of his choice to move to Japan.

“The Brumbies mean a lot to me and my family, and they have given me so much.

“I love Canberra and the community, as it’s my home and will always hold a special place in my heart.

“The players, staff, members and supporters have been behind me every step of the way since my debut and I am grateful and thankful for their unconditional support.

“I leave with many amazing memories and friendships which I will cherish.

“The support that the Canberra public gave me and my family through a difficult time in my life will never be forgotten.

“I believe this club has a bright future under Dan and his coaching staff and look forward to following that progress.

“We still have much to play for this season as well, starting with our Quarter Final against the Sharks on Saturday evening, and I am fully focused on doing my best to help us reach the next stage.”

Lealiifano made his debut for the Brumbies in 2008 against the Crusaders in Christchurch and latterly made his Test bow in unique circumstances, against the British & Irish Lions on their 2013 tour.

He subsequently won a much-publicised battle with Leukaemia to reignite his rugby career, earning a recall to the Wallabies training camp ahead of this year’s Rugby World Cup in the land of the Rising Sun.

“We are sad to see Christian move on but we are very grateful to have had such a quality person at our club for so long,” Head Coach Dan McKellar commented.

“Christian has been a huge part of the Brumbies for 12 years now. His contribution both on field and off field have been enormous.

“Christian the player, has been so important for us, his fearlessness, his direction, his leadership, particularly this year. He’s grown so much as a leader in my time here, but Christian the person is what makes him who he is.

“You will not meet a more selfless person then Christian Lealiifano. To go through what he went through, and to comeback and still find time to lead and care for those around him, to be there for his teammates, he’s an incredible person.

“He should be very proud of the legacy he leaves at the Brumbies.

“We wish Christian, his family all the best for his future in Japan and beyond.”

A firm favourite with the Brumbies faithful, Lealiifano has captained the side 46 times with only George Gregan (47 caps as Captain) and Ben Mowen (51) ahead of him on the list of players to lead the team onto the field.

“Christian has been a tremendous ambassador for the club, both on and off the field, and we are sorry to see him leave,” Plus500 Brumbies CEO Phil Thomson commented.

“On behalf of the Brumbies family we wish Christian, and his family, all the best for their next adventure.”

Rugby Championship

Rebels confirm big name departures

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Photo by Mark Tantrum/Getty Images

The Melbourne Rebels have confirmed a host of players will depart at the end of the season, led by Wallabies Marika Koroibete and Dane Haylett-Petty.

In an announcement on Friday, the club revealed Koroibete will head to Japan in 2022 following his Wallabies commitments.

The 28-year-old was named Players’ Player following an outstanding 2021 campaign, with the winger scoring 23 tries during his 69 games with the club.

He will be joined in Japan by Isi Naisarani, who will leave the club after playing 31 games since 2019.

Koroibete runs over Gatland

Meanwhile, Haylett-Petty, who was named captain for the past three years, will not return as he explores his options.

Haylett-Petty did not feature in 2021 as he continues to recover from a concussion.

Along with this, Frank Lomani will return back home to Fiji, with the halfback named in their squad to face New Zealand in July.

Lock Steve Cummins has also signed a multi-year deal with French side Section Paloise in the Top 14.

Their departing list is rounded out by Tom Pincus, who they confirmed will move into his post-Rugby career.

The club has confirmed that they will retain the majority of their squad from 2021, with 27 players contracted for the 2022 season.

Source – Australia Rugby

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Super Rugby

Wallabies hooker heading to France after Reds’ farewell

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Photo by Mark Tantrum/Getty Images

WALLABIES hooker Brandon Paenga-Amosa will make an emotional farewell to Suncorp Stadium on Friday night after revealing he has signed a two-year deal with French club Montpellier.

The popular Paenga-Amosa’s final home game for the Queensland Reds will have special significance against the Auckland-based Blues.

“I was born in Auckland and grew up going for the Blues. I had a couple of Blues’ jerseys as a boy so this is a game I really want to play well in and get the win for Queensland,” Paenga-Amosa said.

Wallabies boss Dave Rennie showed his liking for the BPA package of hustle, nous around the ball and scrum strength by picking him as starting hooker in five Tests last season.

Rugby’s favourite ex-garbo will be a loss for Australian rugby because, at, 25, he should be approaching his peak years as a hardened hooker after four seasons of professional rugby.

“It’s going to be hard to leave this place. I love Queensland and I love representing the Queensland jersey,” Paenga-Amosa said.

“I’m waiting to know if the Wallabies want me as part of the Test program. If so I would stay, for sure, until December when my contract finishes.”

Isaac Henry goes over after a great pill from Tate McDermott.

Paenga-Amosa, a six-month husband to bride Rina, said he’d made the call to head to France for family reasons and it’s in his plans to return.

“Essentially, it came down to wanting to set up my family financially for the future,” Paenga-Amosa said.

“I’m not big on going overseas at the end of my career after I turn 30.

“For me, it’s more going over now, enjoying the travel when we’re young and coming back to settle down with kids later on. Rina will keep BPA in check.

“Definitely, I want to come back. I want to retire in Australia.”

You can now understand all the emotion that poured out of Paenga-Amosa when the Reds won the Super Rugby AU title in dramatic style.

“Winning that title was everything. The dream would have been to win both but I still want to finish off the year strongly and hopefully the Wallabies want me,” he said.

Damian McKenzie gets his marching orders after a high shot on Tate McDermott.

Paenga-Amosa said the 33-3 first half to the Reds’ 40-34 win over the Chiefs in Townsville last weekend was pure adrenalin for the team.

“The biggest thing was, we played our game plan, played our structures, because doing what we planned to do was the first time for a while,” he said.

“We nailed all our individual jobs. We all stood up together and we’re keen for the challenge the Blues will bring to Suncorp.”

Paenga-Amosa and halfback Moses Sorovi, from Yam Island in the Torres Strait, said they were proud to be wearing the Reds’ Indigenous jersey in this match.

On Monday, as the Queensland Rugby Union’s Indigenous Program Ambassadors, they attended the “Deadly Threads” exhibition at the State Library of Queensland where the previous nine Reds’ Indigenous jerseys were on display.

“For me, I grew up in Gadigal land in Sydney and was always a big advocate for representing the Indigenous,” Paenga-Amosa said.

“It’s the connection. I love playing for the people I’m representing and it means a lot to me to represent First Nations’ people.

“It’s not just about rugby. Our Future Indigenous Leaders Program in Queensland is about seeing Indigenous youngsters rise, actually brown kids in general rise, and not being part of the stereotype.”

Since the Future Indigenous Leaders Program (FLIP) was born in 2013, it has helped prepared young people for trades, university courses and leadership in their communities.

The FLIP is a program run by the QRU in partnership with Rio Tinto in the communities of Cherbourg and Woorabinda where students in Years 6-10 with leadership potential are offered mentoring and support.

FLIP student Delphine Cecil designed this year’s Reds’ Indigenous jersey. She drew on memories of the stars and Australian countryside to maintain her strong connection to her home town when she moved from Woorabinda to boarding school in Yeppoon.

Source – Australia Rugby

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Super Rugby

Crusaders team named to face the Reds in Brisbane

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The Crusaders are preparing for their first trip across the Tasman since March last year, and will travel to Brisbane today ahead of their match against the Reds on Saturday night.

As well as making a few changes to the side this week, Head Coach Scott Robertson has named three additional players for the Crusaders two-match tour to Australia, with Fletcher Newell, Nathan Vella and Fergus Burke all set to make the trip.

In the team to play the Reds, prop Oliver Jager will start and Michael Alaalatoa has been named on the bench. Codie Taylor will once again lead the side, while regular Captain Scott Barrett is recovering after being medically ruled out of last week’s game against the Brumbies. The Crusaders have opted to give Barrett this week off as well, but he is expected to join the team in Australia next week.

Tom Sanders also won’t make the trip to Brisbane later today due to a nasal fracture, and has been replaced by Ethan Blackadder as the starting number seven against the Reds. Whetukamokamo Douglas will wear the number six jersey.

In the backs, Mitchell Drummond and Will Jordan both return from a rest to start at halfback and fullback respectively, while Sevu Reece takes the right wing spot in place of Manasa Mataele. It’s a timely return for Jordan, with George Bridge also ruled out of the Crusaders touring squad after having his appendix removed this week.

Finally, Sione Havili Talitui makes a welcome return from concussion to provide loose forward cover in the reserves.

Crusaders team to play the Reds:

1.  George Bower

2.  Codie Taylor (C)

3.  Oliver Jager

4.  Mitchell Dunshea

5.  Samuel Whitelock

6.  Whetukamokamo Douglas

7.  Ethan Blackadder

8.  Cullen Grace

9.   Mitchell Drummond

10. Richie Mo’unga

11. Leicester Fainga’anuku

12. David Havili (VC)

13. Braydon Ennor

14. Sevu Reece

15. Will Jordan

RESERVES:

16. Brodie McAlister

17. Tamaiti Williams

18. Michael Alaalatoa

19. Quinten Strange

20. Sione Havili Talitui

21. Bryn Hall

22. Dallas McLeod

23. Manasa Mataele

Other players travelling to Australia for the Crusaders matches against the Reds and Waratahs: Fletcher Newell, Nathan Vella, Fergus Burke.

Source – Crusaders Rugby

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