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Ulster look to bring in Australia out-half Lealiifano before new Pro14 season

The northern province are exploring the option of bringing the Brumbies captain to Belfast.

Lealiifano has won 19 caps for Australia.
Lealiifano has won 19 caps for Australia.
Image: PA Archive/PA Images

ULSTER ARE ON the verge of completing a deal to bring Brumbies captain Christian Lealiifano to Kingspan Stadium on a short-term contract.

The Australia international out-half has been linked with a move to the northern province ahead of the start of the Guinness Pro14 season, with Les Kiss looking to strengthen his resources in the 10 position.

With Paddy Jackson currently unavailable, Ulster have been in the market for an out-half and Fox Sports Australia this morning reported that Lealiifano is poised to move to Ireland during the Super Rugby off-season.

The42 understands that while no deal has been completed, Ulster are exploring the possibility of bringing the 29-year-old to the club in time for their campaign opener against the Cheetahs on 1 September.

According to Fox Sports, both the ARU and the Brumbies have given Lealiifano’s move the green light in a bid to fast-track his comeback after going into remission.

The 19-time capped Wallaby was diagnosed with leukemia in August 2016 and made his return to rugby in last month’s Super Rugby quarter-final against the Hurricanes.

Lealiffano’s potential arrival would be a huge boost for Ulster following the departure of Ruan Pienaar and the absence of Ireland international Jackson.

With the new season just three weeks away, Kiss’ options at out-half are threadbare with Ireland U20 international Johnny McPhillips and Brett Herron the only recognised 10s in the squad.

“We’ve been looking at recruitment in the fly-half position, as we do for all key positions, for well over a year. We’ve had our radar out there,” Ulster CEO Shane Logan said earlier this month.

“This is a difficult time to recruit when pretty much everyone is in contract, but we’re hopeful of making a positive announcement sooner rather than later.”

Ulster will launch their new home and away kits for the new season at Kingspan Stadium later this evening.

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