Sunday 22 October 2017

Leinster eye promising Kiwi talent as Scott Fardy confirms move

James Lowe of Maori All Blacks during the match between Munster and the New Zealand Maori All Blacks at Thomond Park
James Lowe of Maori All Blacks during the match between Munster and the New Zealand Maori All Blacks at Thomond Park
Scott Fardy of Australia. Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images
David Kelly

David Kelly

AS Australian international Scott Fardy confirmed he will join Leinster next season - and not Sale - the Irish province have stepped up their quest for an outside back, with Waikato Chiefs' James Lowe the latest to raise their eyebrows.

With prospective purchase Adam Ashley-Cooper deciding that the part-time, full-on wages in the Japanese league were more to his liking, Lowe's name has appeared on the radar, aided by his own efforts to broadcast imminent availability.

"There's always interest overseas but I haven't made any decisions yet, there are always people knocking on your doorstep," said the 24-year-old, as Leinster seek to fill the non-Irish qualified slot that will be bequeathed by South African Zane Kirchner this summer.

"I don't know quite what I'm going to do."

An All Blacks call-up could turn his head but that hasn't arrived - yet.

"I'm just going to be here with the Chiefs and try to play as well as I can," said the winger, who crossed twice in the opening Super Rugby round against the Highlanders last weekend. "If it comes, it comes. That's the plan."

Chiefs CEO Tony Lewis only last week lost assistant coach Kieran Keane to Connacht and, although it is believed he is aware of the player's plans, he is remaining tight-lipped.

Which is in contrast to 32-year-old utility forward Fardy (pictured), who declared his intentions quite freely yesterday.

"It's still a big year ahead at the Brumbies," said the man who has fallen off Michael Cheika's Wallaby register.

"I'm also excited about the chance to join Leinster next season. But I've got a lot that I want to achieve at the Brumbies and it should be a great year with the boys."

Brumbies chief executive Michael Thomson said: "Scott goes with our blessing, he's been a great asset. We wish him the best overseas and who knows, he may even come back one day."

Leinster will need to shift around some furniture to accommodate a potentially perfect foil for Devin Toner, with Mike McCarthy, Ian Nagle and Hayden Triggs all under threat.

Fardy will nominally be a lock but can also cover at flanker, and IRFU head honcho David Nucifora is still keen to move a Leinster back-rower north to Ulster, with Dominic Ryan and Jack Conan regularly mentioned on the grapevine.

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