Saturday 3 December 2016

O'Connor seeking further recruits as Nacewa returns

Published 01/05/2015 | 02:30

Leinster yesterday confirmed Irish rugby’s worst kept secret, announcing the return of Isa Nacewa next season
Leinster yesterday confirmed Irish rugby’s worst kept secret, announcing the return of Isa Nacewa next season

Leinster yesterday confirmed Irish rugby's worst kept secret, announcing the return of Isa Nacewa next season.

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It is understood the New Zealander, who played once for Fiji, has signed a one-year deal with the province he left at the end of the 2012/13 season to retire.

Coach Matt O'Connor said he had no worries about the 33-year-old's ability to pick up where he left off after two years on the sidelines working as a mental skills coach for the Auckland Blues and is now targeting an additional "one or two" players to bolster the squad for next season.

O'Connor is particularly mindful of the World Cup period which will see a huge number of Leinster players called up to the Ireland squad.

He is targeting a scrum-half and is believed to be interested in South African Nic Groom who currently lines out for The Stormers in Super Rugby.

With up to seven front-rows likely to be included in Joe Schmidt's squad, Leinster are also likely to be after a some cover in the prop department, while O'Connor suggested Gordon D'Arcy could yet re-sign with the province after being left out of their initial renewals press release.

"There is still a huge amount of work to be done off the pitch to ensure that we are best placed to challenge over the course of a full season next year," he said. "Over the next few weeks we hope to confirm the final players for next season and we hope to have news of possibly one or two more players coming in."

Yesterday's news was all about Nacewa, however, who will return with Johnny Sexton after the duo left Leinster at the same time two seasons ago.

"He hasn't played in a bit but he hasn't been alien to a rugby environment either working with the Auckland Blues and has really enjoyed his time there," O'Connor said.

"He has kept himself in good shape and was always in regular contact with some of the lads here like Leo (Cullen). But there is obviously still a feeling that he has unfinished business on the pitch and we are just delighted that he feels that it is with us. As we became aware that he was keen on a return, we have worked hard to get it over the line."

Irish Independent

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