Mitchell inspires Lealiifano
Wallaby wing Drew Mitchell's recovery from a dislocated ankle has served as inspiration for injured Brumbies fly-half Christian Lealiifano.
Lealiifano, who put himself in contention for a Wallabies call-up before suffering a similar injury in the Brumbies clash against the Waratahs in Canberra earlier this year, admits that he went through several dark periods during his recovery.
"I had some real hard times thinking about how long and how hard it was going to be to get back," he told AAP.
"Watching the Wallabies is always tough and knowing that your name was thrown around there is hard to hear I guess, but at the same time I used it as a motivation to try and get back even better than what I was when I got injured.
"Talking to the doctor some people can have it as a career-ending injury and I've sort of been blessed to come out on the other side.
"... (Mitchell) came and spoke to me the night I got injured and said he did the same thing and came back.
"To see him running around last week and still running around is always a positive for me.
"Knowing that other guys are going through something similar is always a positive to know you can bounce back from it."
Lealiifano, who finished second in the Australian Super Rugby player of the year award to Will Genia despite missing the last six matches, is still determined to fulfill his dream of playing at Test level.
"I did a knee in 2010 and bounced back from that okay but each year something's holding me back," he added.
"This one's been very, very tough, just because I never really had an ankle (injury before) and how traumatic it was was pretty full on.
"Coming back from it was a long process ... it's one of the hardest things I've been through in my life.
"And being able to overcome that now and seeing the light at the end of the tunnel is a positive."