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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.”


Super Rugby

Highlander greats to join Management Team

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Former Highlanders’ co-captains Nasi Manu and Ben Smith have joined the 2023 Highlanders’ management team. 

Manu, who co-captained the team with Smith to a Super Rugby Championship in 2015, has joined in an operations and player mentoring role. Manu who battled cancer in 2019 before returning to play for Tonga and Otago also played for mid-Canterbury in this year’s Heartland Championship. As yet he has not called time on his playing career.

“The opportunity to work in a club that I love with and to mentor some younger players was too good to turn down. I don’t know if it signals the end of my playing days just yet, at the moment I am just excited about being able to continue to work in rugby and with the Highlanders,” said Manu.

Highlanders General Manager of Rugby, Greg O’Brien, said Manu is widely respected within the club by both past and present players.

“Nasi came here in 2010 and had an immediate impact on everyone at the club – his engaging approach off the field and uncompromising play on it certainly left a lasting impression. Nasi’s professional attitude and passion for the club will provide a positive influence for many of our up-and-coming players. His unique perspective and inspiration come from a guy who has been there and done that in rugby terms,” said O’Brien.

Highlanders’ legend Ben Smith has already dabbled in coaching having worked with the Otago NPC Squad during the 2022 NPC season and is looking to extend that experience with the Highlanders. He will be working with the team for two days a week focusing on the back three counterattack.

“I wasn’t sure if I would enjoy coaching, or if the players would respond to my style of coaching, however I certainly enjoyed my time with Otago and was encouraged enough to commit some time to the Highlanders. As most people would probably guess, this region and this club mean a great deal to me,” said Smith.

Highlanders Head Coach Clarke Dermody was keen to utilise Smith’s knowledge if possible.

“Ben has only just retired from a great rugby career, and I knew he probably wasn’t likely to want to commit all his time to coaching straight away. As one of world rugby’s best counter attackers from fullback he understands the role of the back three in detail and the knowledge he will be able to impart to our players will be invaluable.”

Between Smith and Manu they have over 200 games in the Highlanders’ colours and know what it takes to be successful and combined with the new coaching group, their collective presence around the clubrooms should provide the class of ’23 with all the support they need.

 

ENDS

 

 

 

 

Content & Images from – Highlanders Rugby


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Super Rugby

Queensland Reds sign promising duo

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After impressing during this year’s inaugural Queensland Rugby Challenger Series and tour of Japan, Queensland Rugby pathway products Connor Anderson and Phransis Sula-Siaosi will join the Queensland Reds squad in 2023
 .

Backrower Anderson will call Ballymore home for the next two seasons, while prop Sula-Siaosi has signed through 2023 to bring added depth to the Reds forward pack next year.

Through Queensland Rugby’s recent groundbreaking player development initiatives, the Club Rugby pairing both earned their maiden Queensland cap against the Saitama Panasonic Wild Knights earlier this month in Kumagaya.
  


 Reds General Manager – Professional Rugby Sam Cordingley said: “We’re pleased to welcome another two genuine Queensland Rugby pathway products to our squad for 2023.
 


“Connor and Phransis have both been impressive for their respective clubs for a number of seasons now, and they only enhanced their reputations during the Challenger Series and Japan Tour. It’s great to reward their performances with a Reds contract.
 


“At the Reds, we’ve been built on a strong connection with the community game in Queensland, but the opportunity is clearer than it’s ever been with introduction of the Queensland Challenger Series, and Reds caps and contracts will be available again next year for outstanding performers.
 


“Next year’s Challenger Series will grow again and with the Saitama Panasonic Wild Knights travelling to Queensland in 2023, we will be keeping contract positions open for outstanding performers.”
  


 Anderson said: “I’m super excited to be joining the squad in 2023, this has been a dream of mine since I was four-years-old.
 


“Being selected for the Japan tour and earning a cap was a massive honour and something I’m extremely grateful for.
 


“A massive thank you to my coaches at Wests and the club. I wouldn’t be in this position without them.
 


“I’m looking forward to the challenge of Super Rugby and can’t wait to rip in this pre-season at Ballymore.”
 


Sula-Siaosi said: “Earlier this year, my dream of being a professional footy player still felt like a long way away.
 


“I was over the moon to be called into the squad for the Challenger Series and thought what a great year of footy it has been.
 


“Getting my first cap on the Japan Tour still feels unreal to think about.
 


“I’m glad I was able to impress Thorny and the staff enough to sign me and I’m excited to take advantage of this opportunity and make something out of it.”
 


Anderson has enjoyed a breakout 2022 campaign, the backrower winning the StoreLocal Hospital Cup title with Wests and receiving the Alec Evans Medal as the competition’s best player.
 


The 26-year-old graduated from Brisbane State High School in 2013, and played for the Queensland U20s side in 2016.
 


An Everton Park Roosters junior, Anderson made the move to Sylvan Road in 2017, and has been a permanent fixture in the Bulldogs pack in the years since.
 


He featured for Brisbane City in the 2019 National Rugby Championship, before earning selection in this year’s Challenger Series with the Reds.
 


Still only 22-years-old, Sula-Siaosi captained Souths in the year’s Hospital Cup and has risen through the ranks after graduating from St Joseph’s Nudgee College in 2018.
  


 Sula-Siaosi was an Australian Schoolboy the same year, touring Ireland and Scotland alongside current Reds scrumhalf Spencer Jeans.
 


The prop made his Premier Grade debut the season after, and went on to captain the Magpies in 2022.
 


Anderson and Sula-Siaosi will report for pre-season training at Ballymore next week, with Queensland’s preparations for the 2023 Super Rugby Pacific season set to kick-off on Monday.
 


The Reds will play five home games at Suncorp Stadium in 2022, with two at Townsville’s Queensland Country Bank Stadium, including a Round 1 blockbuster against the Hurricanes.
 


Secure your 2022 Reds membership via https://bit.ly/3UP1YDJ.
 


Connor Anderson
 


  • Position: Backrow
  • 
 Height: 191cm

  • Weight: 107kg

  • Born: 13/05/1996

  • Place of birth: Brisbane

  • Senior Club: Wests

  • School: Brisbane State High School

  • Queensland debut: 04/11/2022 v Saitama Panasonic Wild Knights, Kumagaya Rugby Stadium, Saitama

  • Queensland caps: 1
 


Phransis Sula-Siaosi

  • 
 Position: Prop
  • 
 Height: 174cm
 Weight: 118kg
  • 
 Born: 15/07/2022

  • Place of birth: West Auckland, New Zealand

  • Senior Club: Souths
  • School: St Joseph’s Nudgee College

  • Queensland debut: 04/11/2022 v Saitama Panasonic Wild Knights, Kumagaya Rugby Stadium, Saitama

  • Queensland caps: 1

Content & Images from – Queensland Reds Rugby


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Super Rugby

Argentine winger to join Highlanders in 2023

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The Highlanders have added their last player to their 2023 squad with the signing of Argentinian, Martin Bogado.

The 24-year-old winger/fullback is currently assembled with Michael Cheika’s Los Pumas on their UK and European tour. In July he had two outings for an Argentinian XV against Portugal and Georgia and has been playing in the French Top 14 competition for Bayonne.

Bogado is a physical outside back and at 1.91m and 97kg he has the size and pace to cause opposition’s defence problems. He is not the first Argentinian to further his rugby ambitions by playing Super Rugby, Pumas Captain Pablo Matera played for the Crusaders in 2022.

Bogado is looking forward to the rugby and life experience.

“I am extremely excited to be joining the Highlanders. To have the opportunity to play Super Rugby in New Zealand and to represent such a prestigious team is a dream for me.

The move to New Zealand represents a fantastic challenge, and one I had to accept.

New Zealand’s rugby culture and the New Zealand culture in general is something I greatly admire and I’m sure that this experience will help me to grow on and off the field. I want to continue improving as a player and become the very best I can be. I have no doubt the Highlanders is the perfect place to achieve this.

I want to thank the coaching staff, club management and everyone at Highlanders for showing faith in me. I will be giving everything for the club, my new team-mates, and the fans.”

Head Coach, Clarke Dermody, has also welcomed the arrival.

“We were looking for someone to complement our current group of outside backs and Martin fits the bill perfectly. His physical attributes and ability to compete in the air will be of benefit to us.

He is very keen to come out and try a new environment and to further his game. He is clearly talented having already picked up a few games for an Argentinian XV and we believe he is an exciting prospect for us and the future.”

Bogado has signed a two-year deal and will join the team early in the New Year.

ENDS

 

Content & Images from – Highlanders Rugby


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