Christian Lealiifano…an inspiration to all of us

Christian Lealiifano has just penned a five-month contract with Ulster after recovering from his battle with leukemia.

Sir…I salute you.

Coming back from such a hard hitting illness and recovering your fitness is something to not only admire but celebrate. Jonah Lomu made a similar heroic effort after his transplant and inspired a generation of players and fans through his commitment, passion and skill on the field. In my books, Lealiifano has shown the courage of a lion to get back on the field of play and deserves every round of applause and cheers from the Ulster fans.

The Australia international was diagnosed with cancer last August and underwent bone-marrow surgery back in November before making a remarkable comeback for the Brumbies just seven months later.

Now he’s heading to Belfast and has commented to local press “‘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.’ As someone who lived in Northern Ireland for 10 years I loved the place. Yes, it rained a lot, but the people made up for the cold with the warmth of their welcome. Maybe the politics got a tad overbearing at times…yet it was passionate, something you often fail to see in the a local Norfolk by-election. He will have a fantastic time and if he plays well will be a good transfer for Ulster.

So, Christian Lealiifano …May you always have work for your hands to do. May your pockets hold always a coin or two. May the sun shine bright on your window pane. May the rainbow be certain to follow each rain. May the hand of a friend always be near you. And may God fill your heart with gladness to cheer you.

Good luck in Ulster!