Leinster coach Matt O'Connor talks to Douglas at UCD this afternoon.

New Leinster signing Kane Douglas to debut against Cardiff at the RDS

Having arrived in Dublin last Friday, the 25-year-old is fit and fresh.

NEW LEINSTER SIGNING Kane Douglas will make his debut for the province on Friday evening in the Guinness Pro12 clash with the Cardiff Blues at the RDS [KO 19.35], barring any late injuries.

The Australian lock arrived in Dublin on Friday and trained with his new teammates for the first time today. With the 25-year-old having enjoyed a break following Super Rugby success with the Waratahs at the beginning of August, Leinster head coach Matt O’Connor believes Douglas will be ready for this weekend.

Douglas, who stands at 6ft 8ins and weighs close to 125kg, has five seasons of Super Rugby experience on his CV, as well as 14 caps for the Wallabies, the last of which came against Wales in November 2013.

O’Connor says Douglas is “fresh and really eager to get involved,” and believes that the second row beings “world-class” ability to the group. All in all, O’Connor feels his compatriot is the ideal replacement for the retired Leo Cullen.

The feeling was that with Leo’s retirement, that there was a little bit of a void there in relation to an out-and-out world-class lock,” says O’Connor. “We’ve got guys who have played a lot of Test footy in McCarthy and Toner, but it’s a fair slog in the league and Europe, and those guys work very, very hard.

“To bring someone in with the age profile Kane’s got, and who has just won the Super title and played Test rugby, it’s a big boost to have. He’s got an incredibly high work rate. We’ll be looking for him to be big for us across the course of the season.”

Kane Douglas Leinster fans will hope to see Douglas fill the work-rate role Cullen formerly occupied. Ryan Byrne / INPHO Ryan Byrne / INPHO / INPHO

Leinster fans will almost certainly get their first chance to assess Douglas’ skillset for themselves this Friday evening, but O’Connor also underlines the importance the new lock will play in 2015, particularly during the “vitally important” Six Nations period with Toner, and possibly McCarthy, away on Ireland duty.

As for the impression Douglas has created within the playing group on his first day? Leinster back row Dominic Ryan says the lock is a “good addition” and has encouraged the forwards with his apparent speed of learning.

He’s brilliant,” says Ryan. “We just did a walk-through of the line-outs and already you can see his class. He’s an international second row because he takes the line-outs on so quickly.

“Maybe one or two mistakes, but to see what he did this morning just from learning over the weekend our whole line-out calling system was very impressive.”

- Audio courtesy of 98FM.

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