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'We're always looking' - Leinster considering move for foreign signing

Montpellier pair Joe Tomane and Jesse Mogg are understood to be available this summer.

LEINSTER HEAD COACH Leo Cullen indicated that the province are considering their options in the transfer market as they get set to lose captain Isa Nacewa this summer.

The 35-year-old is retiring at the end of the season and his departure will free up one of Leinster’s non-Irish-qualified slots.

The Leinster team huddle after the game Leinster are still looking in the transfer market ahead of next season. Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

As things stand ahead of next season, Leinster will only have Australian international Scott Fardy and Kiwi pair Jamison Gibson-Park and James Lowe on their books.

Gibson-Park and Lowe could qualify to play for Ireland after three years of residency in 2019 and 2020, respectively.

Nacewa’s exit should leave Leinster with scope to bring in another foreign player, although they will need the usual IRFU sign-off on any such deal.

“We’re always looking for what we can add to the group,” said Cullen when asked if Leinster are attempting to replace Nacewa with a player in his position from overseas.

“That’s an ongoing process all the time and obviously in conjunction with the union as well and making sure we get people who can add to the environment.”

Leinster’s squad does appear well stocked out wide and in midfield, where Nacewa will start against Munster tomorrow, but they are continually looking for ways to strengthen their playing group.

Among the CVs that have already crossed Cullen’s desk are those of Montpellier’s Australian pair Joe Tomane and Jesse Mogg, both of whom are set to leave the French club this summer.

Former Brumbies man Tomane has won 17 caps for Australia and can play on the wing and in both midfield positions, as he has done across 17 starts for Montpellier in all competitions this season.

Three-times capped Wallaby Mogg is predominantly a fullback but can also cover the wing.

The42 understands that Tomane and Mogg are both available on reasonable salary terms, while the fact that they are not involved in international rugby makes them more attractive to clubs.

It does seem highly unlikely that Leinster would make a move for both players, but they may have to consider their backline options more urgently if Nacewa’s exit is followed by Joey Carbery leaving the province.

The 22-year-old had looked set to stay after initially stating his reluctance to move to Ulster next season, but Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt subsequently met with Carbery to discuss his future and his options to earn more game time at out-half.

Munster have been strongly linked Carbery in recent days and it appears quite possible that he will make a move this summer, whether it is north or south.

Leinster coaches Cullen and Stuart Lancaster have mainly seen Carbery as a fullback option this season, with all but one of his nine starts for the province coming in the 15 shirt.

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Murray Kinsella

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