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Ulster Rugby sign Australian international on short-term contract

Ulster Rugby have signed Australian international Christian Lealiifano on a short-team deal.

The fly-half has joined the province on a five-month deal that will run until until 22nd January 2018, following the conclusion of the Champions Cup pool stages. He will then return to the Brumbies for the start of the Super Rugby season.

Lealiifano has won 19 caps for the Wallabies, last playing against England in 2016. Shortly afterwards, he was diagnosed with leukaemia but has recently made his return to rugby after undergoing the necessary treatment. On his comeback, he was named as co-captain by Brumbies Head Coach Stephen Larkham.

Ahead of his arrival at Ulster, Christian said: "I'd like to thank the Brumbies for allowing me to do this stint abroad. I'm really excited to be joining up with Ulster Rugby and I'm looking forward to getting out there in front of the supporters at Kingspan Stadium. I can't wait to experience the rugby and the culture in Belfast.”

Les Kiss, Director of Rugby at Ulster, was delighted to welcome Lealiifano: "This is a massive boost for us as we approach the start of the season. It was paramount that we signed an experienced player to give us another option at flyhalf and this is a fantastic solution for us.

"Christian has the playing talent, the leadership ability and the personality to make a big impact here. He has overcome significant challenges in his career and that is testament to his bravery and strong character.

"He's a proven leader and we're excited by the influence that he'll have on our young flyhalves Peter Nelson, Brett Herron, Johnny McPhillips and Callum Smith. We also have two exciting players in our Academy, Michael Lowry and Angus Curtis, who will also have a fantastic opportunity to learn from Christian.

"From speaking to Christian, I know that he is very excited by the challenge and is looking forward to joining up with us soon.”

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