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Leinster release Kane Douglas after receiving 'suitable' compensation

The lock is expected to join Queensland Reds on a two-year contract.
Jul 23rd 2015, 2:34 PM 9,798 43

LEINSTER HAVE RELEASED second row Kane Douglas from his contract with immediate effect after the Australian Rugby Union provided a compensation fee that the province found “suitable”.

That sum is believed to be between €150,000 and €200,000.

Douglas only joined Leinster at the start of last season and had two more years left on his deal. It is expected that he will join the Queensland Reds on a two-year contract within the coming days, therefore allowing him to compete for a place in the Australia squad.

Kane Douglas Douglas failed to settle at Leinster under Matt O'Connor. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

The 26-year-old’s single campaign with Leinster was an unhappy one as he struggled to adapt to the northern hemisphere game, having won a Super Rugby title with Michael Cheika’s Waratahs in 2014.

The physically imposing Australian – who left Ireland on Tuesday – made 16 starts for the province, but evidence of his expected strengths as an enforcer-style lock were only fleeting.

Cheika remained in contact with Douglas during the lock’s time in Ireland and the prospect of breaking into the Wallabies’ World Cup squad is one of the major reasons he is returning home.

Having recovered from back surgery at the end of last season, it is expected that 14-times capped Douglas will feature for Australia in the coming weeks as they prepare for the global tournament, the hope being that he can offer some missing grit.

The ARU’s rules on foreign-based players mean that only those with 60 caps or more, such as Matt Giteau and Drew Mitchell, can be considered by Cheika.

Off the pitch, Douglas and his partner Jennarly struggled to fully settle into life in Ireland. Douglas and his South African fiancé announced on Instagram just a fortnight ago that they are expecting their first child.

Those factors are also part of Douglas’s decision to seek a release from Leinster and a move to the Queensland Reds will bring him close to his father Archibald and brother Luke, who plays rugby league for the Gold Coast Titans.

Douglas’ mother Trish passed away in 2013.

Kane Douglas at the end of the match Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

Leinster, meanwhile, will now attempt to use the compensation fee they received from the ARU to secure a new lock ahead of the 2015/16 season.

With Devin Toner away for the World Cup and Ben Marshall having joined Connacht, the province are left with Mick Kearney, Mike McCarthy, Tom Denton, Gavin Thornbury, Ross Molony and Tadhg Beirne as second row options.

The difficulty for Leinster is that the market is limited at present, the vast majority of players having already agreed contracts for the new season. That may leave South Africa’s Currie Cup and New Zealand’s ITM Cup as the hunting grounds for Leinster, unless they look again to Ireland’s Ulster Bank League for homegrown talent.

Leinster’s statement on the Douglas release reads:

Leinster Rugby can confirm that a suitable agreement has been reached to release second row Kane Douglas from his contract with the province with immediate effect.

Douglas made a total of 20 appearances for Leinster last season (14 Guinness PRO12, six European Rugby Champions Cup) before missing the tail-end of the season with a back injury.

Leinster Rugby would like to wish Kane and Jennarly the best of luck as they return home, and wish Kane well as he competes for World Cup selection with the Wallabies.”

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Murray Kinsella

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