Ulster Rugby look set to announce that Christian Lealiifano has signed for the province on a short term contract.

If the Australian international signs for Ulster he will provide much needed cover at out half following the absence of Paddy Jackson. His contract is likely to run until the start of the Super Rugby season which begins in the new year.

Lealiifano was diagnosed with leukaemia in August 2016 and underwent a bone marrow transplant in November and returned to play seven months later. The former Brumbies player made his return to rugby in June, featuring off the bench in their 61-14 victory over the Asia-Pacific Dragons.

Christian Lealiifano made his international debut against the British and Irish Lions in 2013 aged 25 and has scored 124 points to date. He has not played much recently but the move to Ulster will aid his recovery as he bids to return to the international set up.

Born in Auckland but raised in Melbourne, Lealiifano is primarily an out-half for the Brumbies but his versatility sees him feature at inside-centre for the Wallabies and occasionally at fullback.

What will Lealiifano bring to Ulster Rugby?

Ulster’s new man will bring a different style of play to outhalf. If he can get the ball, his attacking threat will help bring Ulster’s centres into the game as well as his eye for a gap.

In his last full season at the Brumbies Lealiifano successfully kicked 79% of his goals, a similar ratio to Paddy Jackson.

A versatile player, Christian Lealiifano will provide centre cover during the international windows if any of Ulster’s current options are called up to Ireland.

His international experience will be crucial both on the pitch and off it. With talented youngsters Angus Curtis, Johnny McPhillips and Brett Herron within the ranks, his tutorship would go a long away to aiding their development and setting them up to take the reigns when he returns to the Brumbies.

 

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