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Lealiifano targets Waratahs for Super Rugby return

Brumbies centre Christian Lealiifano is aming to play against the Waratahs

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Article Published: Thursday 16 January 2014|

Brumbies and Wallabies centre Christian Lealiifano has targeted his team's fifth round Super Rugby clash with the Waratahs for his his return to Super Rugby.

The Brumbies play the Waratahs on the 15th of March in round five so as the Australian teams only start in round two Lealiifano would only miss three rounds.

The twenty-six-year-old had surgery on his ankle in December and is still recovering from the surgery which came at the end of an exceptional year in which he made his international debut in the opening Test of the British and Irish Lions series.

Lealiifano's debut didn't go to plan as he only lasted 42 seconds and was carried off after being knocked out by Jonathan Davies in a tackle.

However the centre recovered and went on to play 13 Tests for the Wallabies in 2013 and in December had the surgery to cure a long-term ankle problem.

Lealiifano's recovery is going well and on Monday he had his Moonboot removed.

"Everything is on track. It's been frustrating, I've been on crutches for a while and I'm itching to get out," Lealiifano told AAP.

The inside centre said that he had battled through the 2013 season with the niggling ankle injury having first broken it half way through the 2012 season.

"You think you'd get some kind of warranty on these kind of things," he joked.

"All the nurses (in December) were like: 'Oh you're back again!"

Lealiifano warned that if the Brumbies were cautious about his return he could only return to Super Rugby in Round seven but Brumbies' director of rugby Laurie Fisher feels the Waratahs clash is a realistic possibility.

"That will be the aim. He's very important in our structures," Fisher said.

In Lealiifano's absence Pat McCabe, Andrew Smith and South African recruit Lionel Cronje will challenge for the No. 12 jersey.

The Brumbies will retain most of their previous leadership group of captain Ben Mowen, Lealiifano, David Pocock and Stephen Moore from last season but back-row enforcer Fotu Auelua and veteran winger Clyde Rathbone will join the group.

"We've got a lot young players coming up now. Hopefully I can lead by example and pave the way for them," Auelua said.

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