Douglas leaves Leinster to improve his Oz dream

So there you have it. Leinster have conceded to Kane Douglas's (inset) request for an early release out of his contract to permanently return to Australia and play his way into Michael Cheika's World Cup plans, writes Des Berry.

The second row will return home after serving out just one of his three-year contract which was hampered by a back injury at the business end of the season.

It leaves the province staring right into the abyss as they will soldier on into the PRO12 League without Devin Toner and the Wallaby, leaving the second row locker looking decidedly bare.

It also leaves the impression, from afar, that Leinster is sometimes not the happy home of champions in one of the most attractive cities in Europe.

The manner of Matt O'Connor's exit and that of Douglas - he was known to be appalled at the treatment of his former coach - redoubles the burden placed on coach Leo Cullen.

It looks like Ireland international lock Mike McCarthy, Tom Denton, newly promoted professionals Gavin Thornbury and Tadhg Beirne and Academy prospect Ross Molony will man the jerseys during the World Cup.