Brumbies Super Rugby playmaker Christian Lealiifano is hoping that as short stint playing in Ireland will help to extend his playing career.
Lealiifano is lighter than he has been and is now more agile which should be a big boost for the Canberra Super Rugby franchise.
Two years ago the the Brumbies co-captain was diagnosed with leukaemia but after undergoing chemotherapy he is now in remission.
The playmaker lost a lot of weight due to chemotherapy but has now regained much of the weight he lost but is still four four kilograms lighter than his last full Super Rugby season.
Lealiifano spent the off-season playing in Ireland for Ulster and he feels that the time away from Australia has helped him rediscover confidence and form.
The former Wallabies international is now 30 and comes off contract with the Brumbies at the end of the year but is concentrating on his full-time Brumbies comeback.
Ulster have signaled that they could want him to return to Ireland while the Brumbies are keen to keep Lealiifano around as he is an inspirational leader so the ideal situation would be a dual contract that allows him to play for the Canberra side and another club.
“I haven’t really thought (about contracts). I don’t know how much longer I’ve got left to give here or somewhere else,” Lealiifano told WAToday.
“Having a year off, for what it was, has probably refreshed me a bit. Hopefully there’s some longevity there as well.
“If I think about it, if I could stay at the Brumbies again I’d love to do something similar (on a flexible contract) if it’s feasible.
“I love this city, the people here and the fans here. We’ll just see how much footy is left in me, and I don’t want to overstay or block a future kid for the club.”
The Brumbies will rest Lealiifano in their opening trial game against the Melbourne Rebels at Seiffert Oval on Saturday.
When he was at Ulster Lealiifano moved between flyhalf and inside centre in the 16 games he played for Ulster in the Pro 14 competition.
New Brumbies coach Dan McKellar is confident that Lealiifano is back to his best after he made an emotional Super Rugby comeback appearance in the finals last season.
“The big idea of heading over (to Ulster) was to refresh, to come back rejuvenated and to experience the type of footy over there was sensational,” Lealiifano said.
“I’ve known the Brumbies my whole life, and to experience a new culture was really enjoyable for me.
“It’s hard to say if everything is back to normal, you’re always searching for constant improvement. Going over there was about seeing where I was at and I felt like I was in consistent form.”
“I don’t think I want to get back (to the old weight), I’m feeling a bit fitter and agile playing at the weight I am now,” Lealiifano said.
“I can definitely notice it, definitely in contact. Being a bit heavier, you’ve got some more kilos behind you.
“I definitely want to put on a few, probably 91 kilograms is a nice weight for me. I don’t know what it is, medication or coming back, it’s just been hard to put on weight.”
Brumbies Super Rugby trial matches
February 3: ACT Brumbies v Melbourne Rebels at Seiffert Oval, 6pm.
February 9-10: Brisbane 10s at Suncorp Stadium
February 14: ACT Brumbies v Waikato Chiefs at Sunshine Coast Stadium, 8pm (AEDT)