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Douglas deal as good as done but Leinster still looking for centres

Head coach Matt O’Connor has confirmed that the province is hoping to make additions in midfield.

Douglas has a background in rugby league and has excelled for the Waratahs.
Douglas has a background in rugby league and has excelled for the Waratahs.
Image: David Davies

LEINSTER HEAD COACH Matt O’Connor is “very” confident that Australian international lock Kane Douglas will be playing for the province next season.

The 24-year-old Waratahs player has 12 caps for the Wallabies, but the lure of transferring to Europe appears to be too much to resist. Leinster expect to be in a position to make an official announcement on the transfer in the coming weeks.

“Things have progressed pretty well there,” said O’Connor at UCD this afternoon.”We aren’t too far away from making an announcement on that.

“I think the profile is perfect; a young guy who wants to experience winning things in the Northern Hemisphere. It’s fantastic for us, you know? Hopefully that gets across the line and we can then tell you more about it at that time.”

O’Connor has watched Connacht sign Bundee Aki and Munster secure Andrew Smith and Tyler Bleyendaal in their midfields ahead of next season, as he continues to search for centres to supplement his own squad.

Options in the centre

However, the Australia says those deals have not left him casting jealous glances, even though the former Leicester coach remains hopeful of making at least one addition to his province in that area.

“It’s not a frustration, we’ve been in the marketplace looking at those slots. I wouldn’t be disappointed on having missed out on anyone there in relation to who they’ve signed. We’ll wait; there’s a few options for us that we’re looking at and we’ll let you know as soon as they’ve become a reality.”

We’re looking at all our options. We need to bolster our midfield. We’re probably a body, or even two bodies, short in relation to that with the ongoing issues with Luke [Fitzgerald] and the number of guys that are in the mix nationally.

“We’ve got to make sure that we cover all our bases and that we’ve got a squad to compete in the Heineken Cup and, ultimately, in the Rabo.”

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Murray Kinsella

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