Former Wallabies fly-half Christian Lealiifano has said he is “extremely humbled and privileged” to have been shortlisted for the comeback of the year award at the Laureus World Sports Awards.
The 32-year-old shared a message on Instagram and also wished good luck to the five other “incredible competitors” who have been nominated.
The former Brumbies No10 is up against Andy Murray from tennis, basketball’s Kawhi Leonard, Liverpool FC, swimming’s Nathan Adrian and racing’s Sophia Florsch.
Lealiifano capped off a turbulent three years in 2019 by being selected for the Wallabies again for the first time since being diagnosed with leukaemia in 2016.
While that did mark the end of his international career, as he has now moved to Japan’s Top League to play for Toyota, it was a fitting end to a powerful story in any sport and it has rightfully been recognised across the sporting world.
Former Brumbies team-mate David Pocock paid tribute to Lealiifano, saying on Instagram he would be a “worthy” winner of the award.
View this post on Instagram
Bruz @christianlealiifano is one of the best men I've ever played alongside. The optimism, strength of character and resilience he showed during that fight, and since, is remarkable. He'd be a worthy winner of the @laureussport award for 'comeback of the year'. Grateful to call him a friend and see his journey back to health and rugby. Love you brother.
The flanker, who is also playing in the Top League for the Panasonic Wild Knights, said Lealiifano “is one of the best men I have ever played alongside.
“The optimism, strength of character and resilience he showed during that fight – and since – is remarkable.”
The awards ceremony is set to take place on February 17 in Berlin.
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