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Leinster close in on Wallabies international Joe Tomane

The Montpellier man has been primarily used as a centre in the last two seasons.

LEINSTER ARE CLOSING in on the signing of Montpellier centre Joe Tomane ahead of next season.

With Isa Nacewa retiring this summer, the Irish province have been looking to reinforce their backline options.

In Tomane, who has largely been playing in the midfield for Montpellier for the last two seasons, Leinster appear to have found their man and The42 understands that terms have been agreed.

The only remaining potential stumbling block in the deal being concluded is whether or not Tomane can secure a work permit to join Leinster.

Robbie Henshaw and Joe Tomane Tomane played against Leinster in this season's Champions Cup. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Formerly a professional rugby league player with the Melbourne Storm and Gold Coast Titans, Tomane switched to union when signing for the Brumbies in 2011, going on to make more than 60 Super Rugby appearances for the Canberra-based franchise.

Tomane made his Australia debut on the wing against Scotland in 2012 and has played for the Wallabies a total of 17 times, scoring five tries, with his most recent cap coming at the 2015 World Cup against Uruguay.

The 28-year-old joined Top 14 club Montpellier in 2016 and has predominantly been used as a centre in the two seasons since, wearing both the 12 and 13 shirts for the French club, as well as making further appearances out wide.

The42 understands that Leinster are viewing Tomane as a midfield player for next season, after Nacewa occupied their 12 shirt on a number of occasions in the absence of Robbie Henshaw this season.

Henshaw and Garry Ringrose’s international demands with Ireland and the need for their minutes to be carefully managed, particularly with a World Cup to come in 2019, have been among Leinster’s thoughts in assessing the options on the market.

In terms of their non-Irish-qualified players next season, the province will have Wallabies international Scott Fardy on the books as he enters the second season of his two-year contract.

Kiwi scrum-half Jamison Gibson-Park is due to qualify for Ireland in June 2019, while left wing James Lowe is on course to become Ireland-eligible in November 2020.

With those men set to become eligible for Ireland in the future, it’s understood that the IRFU have no issue with Leinster bringing in an NIQ player in midfield for next season.

Tomane’s ball-carrying power and big-game experience will be useful additions to Leinster’s squad if he can secure the necessary work permit to allow him to play in Ireland.

Tomane is not in the Wallabies mix any longer, having left the country two years ago. That lack of involvement in international rugby would make him an important squad member during Test match windows.

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Murray Kinsella

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