Wallaby star Christian Lealiifano said Friday he may never play rugby again as he faces a crucial bone marrow transplant in his fight against leukaemia.
Lealiifano, who has played 19 Tests, was diagnosed with the cancer that affects the blood and bone-marrow in August and is preparing for a transplant after a successful match with his sister.
The ACT Brumbies back has undergone several rounds of chemotherapy in preparation for the life-saving operation.
"Luckily enough for me my younger sister is a match," he revealed to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
"For the family, that is quite a special thing and for your sister to give you the gift of trying to save your life, it's quite special."
Lealiifano, 29, said he has accepted that he may never play again even if he fully recovers from the debilitating illness.
"I hope one day to be able to run out there on the field, whether that be club footy," he said. "If not, I'm happy to accept that as well."
The New Zealand-born star said the next period of his treatment would be a daily battle.
"I've had two treatments of chemotherapy which have pretty much put me in remission going into this transplant," he said. "Both bouts I got infections ... because you've got no immune system."
But looking ahead to his operation, he added: "I'm young, pretty fit and I've got a suitable match.
"One thing they can't guarantee is that everyone will be cured, but it gives you every chance of beating it."
The Brumbies have already told him he could join the club coaching staff next year if the illness puts his playing career on hold.