30 May 2010

Brumbies first-five joins Mooloos as lock O'Neill departs

7:13 pm on 30 May 2010

Brumbies first-five eighth Christian Lealiifano has signed on with Waikato for this year's national provincial rugby competition.

The 22-year-old, who was born in Auckland, joins the squad early next month for a one-off campaign with the Mooloos.

The Waikato coach, Chris Gibbes, says Lealiifano is a skillful player who will help inspire a lot of his young players.

Lealiifano was sidelined after six Super 14 games for the Brumbies this year with a knee injury, but has recovered and expects to be fully fit for the provinvial competition when it kicks off at the end of July.

Meanwhile, Waikato and Chiefs lock Kevin O'Neill is leaving Waikato for Melbourne Rebels, the newest Super competition franchise, and will not play for Waikato this year.

O'Neill, a former Canterbury and Crusaders player, has also played one match for the All Blacks.

Gibbes says he is sorry to be losing such an experienced forward, but such moves come with the territory in professional rugby.

He says O'Neill has been a great performer for the province.