The IRFU still hold out some hope of convincing Joey Carbery to move to Ulster next season.
he province announced the appointment of Scotland assistant coach and former Connacht stalwart Dan McFarland on a three-year deal yesterday and the signing of an out-half of Carbery's quality would be a major boost ahead of his first season.
The 22-year-old is in contract with Leinster until next season, but met with Joe Schmidt yesterday.
The Ireland coach is keen not to get caught in the same bind as he was in 2015 when Ian Madigan went to the World Cup as Johnny Sexton's back-up without being a regular starter at out-half at Leinster.
Both Carbery and Ross Byrne have resisted the idea of moving north until now, but the appointment of a respected replacement for Jono Gibbes and the idea of more game-time offers a clearer picture of what the province will be about next season.
Talk of an overseas signing to replace Paddy Jackson has cooled in recent days amid optimism that one of the two Leinster starlets can be convinced that a move to Kingspan Stadium is in the best interest of their career.
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