Leinster unfazed despite Kane Douglas call-up for Rugby World Cup
Published 07/07/2015 | 02:30
Leinster have ruled out the possibility of Kane Douglas leaving the province following the announcement that the second-row has been called up to the Australia squad ahead of the Rugby Championship and the World Cup.
After an indifferent debut season in Ireland, Douglas has long been linked with a move back home and the latest development will add fuel to that fire, despite Leinster insisting that he will see out the remaining two years of his contract.
According to reports in Australia, the Queensland Reds are preparing to make a swoop for Douglas to replace the Harlequins-bound James Horwill.
Douglas' partner is also pregnant with the couple's first child and it is believed that she wants to be closer to her family.
The ARU have already changed their eligibility rules for players playing outside of Australia with a minimum of 60 caps required to play for the country.
Douglas has only played 14 times for the Wallabies but he has been released under World Rugby Regulation 9. He underwent surgery on his back in April but is understood to be nearing a return to fitness.
The 26-year-old won the Super Rugby title under Michael Cheika, the current Australia coach, and he has been keen to have him available for selection. "Time is the essence. It's not as if he can come when he feels like it because, if fit, you'd like to think about him for the Rugby Championship," Cheika said.
Leinster team manager Guy Easterby maintained that Douglas will return to the province.
"We have been in discussions with the ARU and with Kane for a few weeks now and we have made our position very clear.
"Kane is contracted to Leinster Rugby for another two seasons and we look forward to welcoming him back when his commitments with the ARU come to an end."
Meanwhile, Leinster will also have to plan without Zane Kirchner who has been called up to the South Africa squad as he looks to force himself their World Cup plans.
"It reflects very positively on Leinster Rugby when we have players selected for national squads.
"Our players should aspire to play at as high a level as possible, whether that be with Ireland or with their home nation," Easterby added.