Lealiifano still in RWC contention

Date published: August 14 2015

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Christian Lealiifano could yet make Australia's World Cup squad if he can perform for the World XV against Japan this weekend.

The Brumbies playmaker has not featured for the Wallabies in 2015, but Australia backs coach Stephen Larkham says the door is not shut on 'the best back' in Super Rugby this season.

Capable of playing both at inside centre or at fly-half, Lealiifano has not been given a chance, with Quade Cooper, Bernard Foley and Matt Giteau starting in those two roles so far, and Brumbies teammate Matt Toomua getting a shot at 12 this weekend against New Zealand.

While there are very few spots up for grabs, Larkham believes Lealiifano is still very much in the running, especially given his goal-kicking and Australia's struggles in that area of the game.

"[Lealiifano] was the best back this year so he's still in the running [for the World Cup]," Larkham told the Canberra Times.

"The other boys are getting a bit of a look in here [against the All Blacks] so his only opportunity really is over there [in Japan]. He's trained really well, he's had a really good Super Rugby season, he hasn't had an opportunity to play at the Test level. 

"This is his first opportunity really so it's an important one.

"He's spent a lot of time on his goalkicking this year, obviously struggled over the last couple of years with ankle surgery and removal of a plate and a lot of pain in his ankle, but this year he's started to feel more comfortable with his ankle," he added.

"[Kicking] is certainly part of [World Cup selection]. In Test match rugby you need to have good set piece, you need to have very good defence and you need to be kicking your goals."

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