Friday 19 January 2018

Kiss: Signing Lealiifano is a massive boost for Ulster

Australian international Christian Lealiifano. Photo: EMPICS Sport
Australian international Christian Lealiifano. Photo: EMPICS Sport
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Les Kiss has described the signing of Australian international Christian Lealiifano as a "massive boost" for Ulster ahead of the start of the new season.

Ulster had been desperately short on out-half options but they have at least bought themselves some time by snapping up Lealiifano on a five-month deal.

With Paddy Jackson unavailable for the foreseeable future and Ruan Pienaar having left the club, Ulster have been eager to bring in an experienced 10. Lealiifano arrives from the Brumbies, having overcome his battle with leukemia last year.

"This is a massive boost for us as we approach the start of the season," Kiss said.

Paramount

"It was paramount that we signed an experienced player to give us another option at fly-half and this is a fantastic solution.

"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."

Lealiifano's contract runs until January 22, 2018 which means that he will be available for all of Ulster's Champions Cup pool campaign before he returns to the Brumbies ahead of the new Super Rugby season.

The 29-year-old has won 19 caps with the Wallabies and admitted that he was relishing a fresh challenge.

"I'd like to thank the Brumbies for allowing me to do this stint abroad," he said.

"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."

Irish Independent

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