Injured Brumbies look to put smiles on young faces |PICTURES

INJURED ACT Brumbies pair Christian Lealiifano and Fotu Auelua say they won’t be taking any risks on their road to recovery.

The duo of Super Rugby stars both face an extended stint on the sidelines with ankle (Lealiifano) and knee (Auelua) the respective injuries.

Both said they wouldn’t be rushing their comeback, with an eye on being fit at the business end of the season.

Lealiifano had originally been expected to miss one or two games after having off-season ankle surgery but said he was now likely to return in April.

“It was always going to be that way,” Lealiifano said.

“We were always going to take our time and not rush anything.

“It’s a long year ahead and I want to make sure it’s right.

“The plan is six to eight weeks.

“Things are tracking along really well, though, so I’m happy.”

Auelua, meanwhile, is still coming to terms with the medial ligament rupture he suffered during the second half of Saturday’s trial match against an ACT XV.

He’ll be out for 10 to 12 weeks after being collected from the side of a ruck.

His goal is to be fully fit for the Super Rugby final rematch against the Chiefs on April 25.

“Until then it’s just a long road ahead,” Auelua said.

“It’s unfortunate but all you can do is look forward.”

Auelua said the fact his injury happened on the eve of the season made it harder to take.

“It’s a massive shock,” he said.

“Mentally, you go through that 14-week pre-season and think about the times you’re on the sideline spewing up and all the hard stuff you do.

“Then this happens and you almost feel like it’s for nothing.

“But I’ve got a great bunch of guys around me and great squad that will help me through.”

The Brumbies open their season against the Queensland Reds on February 22.

Lealiifano said community visits, such as yesterday’s trip to Albury, came as a welcome distraction when injured.

“It’s always tough being injured, so absolutely,” he said.

“We really enjoy coming out to see the kids and realise all the support we have around here.

“It’s pretty important to us to keep in touch with our supporter base and reach out to those people who are a bit far away from Canberra.

“It puts things into perspective when you put smiles on kids’ faces.”

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