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Kane Douglas a Leinster target but Matt O'Connor insists deal is not yet done

The Blues coach is also hoping to get in an additional centre for next season.

Douglas )left) trains with Australian teammate James Slipper.
Douglas )left) trains with Australian teammate James Slipper.
Image: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

LEINSTER COACH MATT O’CONNOR has admitted Australian international second row Kane Douglas is top of the province’s shopping list but insists no contracts have been signed.

Following weekend reports that Leinster had secured the 24-year-old’s playing services, the province announced it would be divulging some of its new signings and contract extensions on Tuesday. O’Connor said, before Leinster’s training session this morning, that Douglas’ name may not be included in that circular.

“[Douglas] is a guy we have identified,” O’Connor confirmed. “The deal hasn’t been done. If that gets across the line it would be positive for us. He fits the profile what we were looking at and we have an announcement in the next couple of weeks hopefully.” The Australian added:

To be fair, we knew we were going to go after a high profile lock early in the season given Leo [Culllen's] departure to the coaching staff. From that end we identified a skill set we were after and a handful of guys and we are pretty close to making an announcement to that.”

A spokesman for the Waratahs told TheScore.ie the club was not in a position to confirm Douglas’ departure but added that his management [GS Sports] remain in talks with the Australian Rugby Union.

Matt O'Connor 5/5/2014 Matt O'Connor (right) and Sean O'Brien share a laugh during Monday's training session. Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

O’Connor, meanwhile, remains hopeful that the province will be able to bring in an extra centre for next season. The province will lose Brian O’Driscoll [retirement] and Andrew Goodman [released] in the summer and, with Luke Fitzgerald’s groin problems not solved, will need to strengthen the midfield. Ulster’s Jared Payne and Connacht’s Robbie Henshaw have been linked with moves but their respective provinces have been quick to shut down such speculation.

O’Connor said, “The market is very tight at the minute. We have exhausted most of the avenues of filling that slot for next year but there is still a bit to go for us being 100% comfortable with our squad in that area. We work on that area every day so that we fit that slot up.”

– Additional reporting by Cillian O’Conchuir @WordInSport

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