Sydney (AFP) – ACT Brumbies fly-half Christian Lealiifano will play in this year’s Japanese Top League Season for Toyota Shokki after signing a deal with the club this week, the Brumbies said on Friday.
Lealiifano, who has played 19 Tests for the Wallabies and has scored over 800 points with the Brumbies, had a spell with Ulster Rugby in the PRO14 last season and was due to play in the Japanese League until he was diagnosed with leukaemia in 2016.
“I am really looking forward to the unique experience of playing in Japan,” Lealiifano said.
“This is something that I have wanted to do for some time and had to postpone due to my illness.
“This is a fantastic opportunity to play in a different environment and a different culture and it’s something that appeals to me.”
The fly-half, 30, who had a successful bone marrow transplant for his leukaemia treatment, has played this Super Rugby season with the Brumbies in a leadership role.
Lealiifano will move to Japan after the Super Rugby season and play with Toyota Shokki until the end of their season.
“The Brumbies are supportive of Christian playing in Japan,” Brumbies CEO Michael Thomson said.
“Christian’s form has continued to improve as the season has progressed and we appreciate that he is keen to experience another culture and the Japanese Top League timing affords him that opportunity this year. We wish him luck with his endeavours.”