His ice-cool goal-kicking has won both crucial Test matches and Super Rugby finals.
Yet Australian rugby’s first choice post-splitter Christian Lealiifano wants Nic White to retain the duties for the Brumbies when he returns to Super Rugby against the Rebels in Melbourne on Friday.
The Wallabies and Brumbies sharpshooter says he doesn’t want to take any chances while his right ankle completely rehabilitates from a second round of surgery in as many years.
“I probably wouldn’t mind Whitey to keep going,” the right-footed Lealiifano said.
“Not only just to give my ankle a bit of a break … but just trying to get rhythm again.”
White isn’t as accurate as Lealiifano, who nailed an incredible 88 per cent of his penalty-goal attempts in Super Rugby last year.
He outkicked Bulls maestro Morne Steyn to lift the Brumbies to an historic semi-final win in Pretoria, and that was just a month after his match-winning conversion in the second Test against the British and Irish Lions in Melbourne.
However he said goal-kicking put extra stress on his ankle last year, which he initially broke in 2012, and he was keen to see how things developed during his second comeback before reclaiming the responsibility.
While this Friday will be Lealiifano’s first Super Rugby match back, he was eased back into rugby last week in the Canberra club competition.
It’s still unclear whether he’ll make his return starting at No.12 or behind in form hardman Pat McCabe, but either way, flyhalf Matt Toomua said he was excited to rekindle their playmaking partnership that steered the Brumbies to last year’s final.
“He looks fitter than he has for a while,” Toomua said.
“He didn’t complain too much last year, but he was labouring on that ankle a lot.”
Toomua also joked about his friendly rivalry with Lealiifano, as both shone in the No.10 jersey for the Brumbies in 2012 as well as at inside centre for the Wallabies late last year.
“As long as he’s coming back as a 12, I’m very excited,” Toomua said.
“It’s good to see him running freely, and it will be good to be playing next to him and not behind him.”