Christian Lealiifano’s hopes of representing the Wallabies again have been reignited as he was named in their pre-World Cup training camp squad.
Two years after beating leukaemia, the Brumbies skipper has been invited back to the international scene, along with James Slipper and Luke Jones.
The disease inhibits the body’s ability to fight infection and led to Lealiifano receiving bone marrow transplant and chemotherapy; making his possible return to the international fold all the more remarkable.
He has said that during the 2016 Test series versus England, when he made his last Wallabies outing that he was lethargic and void of energy.
“I didn’t know what was going on and sort of just tried to push through training and just got tired, it was getting worse and worse. I couldn’t shake a cold or do anything really”.
He added that he found out Thursday afternoon and was starting chemotherapy only 48 hours later.
Despite being injured and few match minutes this campaign, Cheika has asked Jordan Petaia and Rob Valetini to attend the camp.
Beyond these additions, there is little change to the squad that toured the northern hemisphere in the autumn.
The condition has changed Lealiifano’s outlook on life and made him think with greater reflection.
He previously noted: “I’m looking at it now that I don’t have many years left in me. I’ve been around for 10 years and haven’t tasted success here.
“For me, it’s about enjoying each moment but really striving towards achieving a bit of success.”
While it gives him renewed optimism, there are no guarantees he will make the 31-man shortlist and be on Australia’s Japan-bound plane in September.
JAMES JUBERT / GETTY IMAGES
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