Tuesday 23 January 2018

Douglas will see out remainder of Leinster contract

Kane Douglas in action during squad training
Kane Douglas in action during squad training
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Matt O'Connor has quashed speculation linking Kane Douglas with a return to his native Australia.

Reports in the southern hemisphere had suggested that the Wallabies head coach Michael Cheika was toying with the idea of trying to recall him in order to include him in his World Cup squad, but the Leinster boss was firm in his stance that the second-row would see out his contract in Ireland.

Douglas (pictured, above) had endured a tough start to life in Ireland and has only made eight appearances since joining from the New South Wales Waratahs last September but in recent games he had shown signs of settling in to the Leinster team.

"It would make sense because Kane's a quality player," O'Connor said of the speculation.

"If you look at the stocks that they've got in locks in Australia, he would certainly be featuring in their World Cup plans.

"But Kane is contracted to us and he will be here for the next two seasons at least."

Meanwhile, O'Connor is set to welcome back Fergus McFadden (rib), Rhys Ruddock and Ben Te'o from injury for Sunday's visit of the Dragons to the RDS.

Ruddock hasn't played since breaking his arm against Harlequins in December but O'Connor revealed that the Ireland back-row is available for selection this weekend.

"Rhys is back training. He has recovered from that broken arm. Benny Te'o had a bit of a rib injury and a little bit of a neck issue, and he's trained during the last two weeks.

"Those guys are in the mix for selection and looking forward to this block of four games to get some significant rugby and put them in the frame for the end of the season," O'Connor added.

Leinster have recalled scrum-half John Cooney from his loan spell with Connacht but O'Connor clarified that he will still join the western province in a permanent deal at the end of the season.

"Just with the injury to Eoin Reddan, we felt we needed a little bit of extra coverage," O'Connor admitted.

"Nick McCarthy is captaining the U-20s so we didn't want to pull him out.

"When John went down to Connacht, the arrangement was that if we needed him at any point, which was a real possibility in the international windows, that he would come back so he's come back and trained with us and fitted in seamlessly."

O'Connor is also hopeful of having some of his Irish internationals available for selection but is awaiting to see what players will be released by the IRFU.

"Hopefully there'll be a couple of players that miss out for them will be back with us."

Irish Independent

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