Christian Lealiifano thought he would never play rugby again after leukaemia

Christian Lealiifano
Christian Lealiifano has won 19 caps for Australia

Australia international Christian Lealiifano says there were times during his recovery from leukaemia that he thought he would not play rugby again.

The 29-year-old was diagnosed in August 2016, but made his comeback in the Brumbies' Super Rugby quarter-final loss in July.

Lealiifano has been linked with a short-term deal at Pro14 side Ulster.

"When I first started training I thought I would never play football again," Lealiifano said.

"When the doctor gave me the all clear that I could return back to work, that was when I had my eye on the prize."

Lealiifano said his cancer battle has "changed" his outlook on life.

He underwent chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant, and was told the cancer was in remission in February.

"I would go through this 10 times again for the person I am today," he said. "The journey I have been through and the person that I have become."

Lealiifano say he is "exploring options" in Australia's National Rugby Championship and playing abroad.

Addressing the Ulster rumours, he said:external-link "Nothing has been locked away yet - it is something in the pipeline."

Lealiifano, who the last of his 19 caps for the Wallabies against England in June 2016, said he is not focusing on a return to the national side.

"I have not really thought too much about it - I will just work through each day and each game," he added.

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