Leinster to announce new signings on Tuesday amid reports of Kane Douglas coup

Blues coach Matt O’Connor will address the media on Monday but will not be answering questions on the Australian lock.

Kane Douglas trains in Dublin, with Australia, last November.
Kane Douglas trains in Dublin, with Australia, last November.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

LEINSTER RUGBY WILL confirm their first batch of new signings and contract extension on Tuesday but have not confirmed whether Kane Douglas will be on that list.

The reigning RaboDirect Pro12 champions have been the slowest of the four provinces to announce new signings for 2014/15 but have been pursuing ‘a number of targets’ since the turn of the year.

One of those targets is 24-year-old Australia lock Kane Douglas. The Sunday Times are reporting Douglas’ move as a done deal and have also stated that South African lock, and project player, Quinn Roux will be released, along with New Zealand centre Andrew Goodman.

Douglas has played 14 times for the Wallabies since making his Test debut, against Argentina, in 2012. He started all three Tests for the Aussies as they lost 2-1 to the British & Irish Lions last summer. He toured with his country last November and appeared off the bench in matches against England and Wales.

When contacted by a Leinster spokesperson said the province had no comment on the reports and could not confirm the signing of Douglas. The spokesperson added that new signings and contracts will be revealed on Tuesday. Leinster coach Matt O’Connor will face the media, at Rosemount, on Monday morning but is not expected to engage in speculation of imminent arrivals.

By signing with Leinster, on a reported two-year deal, Douglas would effectively be giving up the opportunity to represent his country at the 2015 World Cup. The Australian Rugby Union has already lost the services of captain Ben Mowen, who cited a doubling of his wages as the primary reason he will be joining Toulon in the off-season.

Brother of Rugby League star Luke Douglas, the lock comes in a 6ft 6in and weighs 17st 3lbs. Douglas’ Australian agents, GS Sports Management, put together this highlight reel of their client in August 2013:

Source: GSSportsManagement/YouTube

Green and Gold Rugby has compiled a stats list of the current Australian second rows playing in Super Rugby this season, and in comparison with the impressive All Black Brodie Retallick. From the figures [below] it would appear that Douglas is having an underwhelming season to date.

TABLE1 Fair to middling for Douglas, who has missed a tackle for every four he has made. Source: Green & Gold Rugby

Wallabies Matt Giteau, Digby Ioane and Drew Mitchell are all plying their trade in the Top 14 and are not expected to be part of Ewen McKenzie’s World Cup plans. Douglas, who would form a formidable partnership with Irish lock Devin Toner, is not the first to opt for financial security over the lure of representing ones’ country. Speaking about Douglas’ ARU contract wrangles, in April, former Leinster coach Michael Cheika [now the 'Tahs boss] commented:

He is doing what professional rugby players do. They have a limited life span and they try to… Kane, he just wants to get what’s fair, I think. I’m doing my best with him because he is definitely a player we don’t want to lose.

A spokesperson for the Waratahs was contacted but had not responded at time of publishing.

What do you think of Leinster’s reported signing? Should the province pursue any further foreign talents?

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Patrick McCarry

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