Rugby

Ulster's New Signing "Lost 14 Kilos In 13 Days" In Battle Against Leukaemia Last Summer

Ulster's New Signing "Lost 14 Kilos In 13 Days" In Battle Against Leukaemia Last Summer

With Ulster extremely short on out-half options as the Guinness Pro 14 season neared kick-off, the province took the decision to bring in Aukland born Australia international Christian Leali'ifano on a five-month deal.

The former Brumbies 10 has been signed up for a period that will see him play up to 19 matches for Ulster, so fans are understandably excited to see what he can offer when he steps onto the pitch at the Kingspan Stadium for the first time. For the man himself, he knows he is lucky to be able to do so following a battle with leukaemia in the summer of 2016.

Just 12 months on, Leali'ifano is an inspiration for the manner in which he battled back from such a difficult situation and has arrived in Ulster preaching positivity. Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, he outlined just how draining and debilitating his illness was.

Just to get back to be a father and a dad to my little boy, that was number one for me. Being able to play rugby again, that's a bonus.

The last 12 months have really been a big emotional drain and to finally get back and play has been really rewarding. I'm grateful every day that I get to step out again and do what I love doing while I can.

I lost 14 kilos in 13 days and it was a tough period working back up, getting back to the weight, getting back to full strength and running fitness.

There's been a lot of people to thank and credit for that. I look back now and I'm quite proud.

It's hard because you never want to pat yourself on the back, but to think of the journey I've had, and now being here today, it's something that I'm truly grateful for. There's other people put the work in, and you owe them to put the work back out if that makes sense. It's been tough but rewarding to be back in a position to do what I love doing.

Advertisement

It's doubtful that anyone would begrudge Leali'ifano patting himself on the back for his remarkable recovery, and his tale is truly an inspirational one as he has managed to get back to an extremely high level in around 12 months.

We're looking forward to seeing what he brings to Ulster, even if he's only here for a short time.

You can read Christian Leali'ifano interview ahead of his Ulster debut over on BelfastTelegraph.co.uk.

Mikey Traynor

You may also like