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Sunday 20 January 2019

Douglas checks in

Wallaby arrives to boost Leinster options

Leinster's Kane Douglas sealed his early release from his contract with the Australian Rugby Union by landing in Dublin over the weekend.

The Wallaby second row tweeted how he was "packed, checked-in and ready to fly" to the northern hemisphere as he exited the New South Wales Waratahs.

The arrival of Douglas will stiffen Leinster's second-row resolve as Quinn Roux has moved to Connacht on loan and Leo Cullen has walked upstairs to be the forwards coach.

The 25 year-old couldn't get here quick enough as Leinster were limited to two international locks in Devin Toner and Mike McCarthy with the hard-working Ben Marshall and Tom Denton as back-ups and Kevin McLaughlin set to resume his utility role moving between the middle and back rows.

The Australian international has played 14 times for his country and will certainly shore-up any perceived shortcomings during the November international window.

Wildly

Opinions vary wildly on the merits of Douglas with former Leinster coach Michael Cheika (pictured, below), his boss at The Tahs, declaring he "deserved" to be part of Australia's Rugby Championship.

"He's really improved this year and I think it's a real shame he didn't get to play for Australia as well," said Cheika.

"I think he deserved it and he's going to be sorely missed by the team when he leaves, that's for sure".

Wallabies coach Ewen McKenzie's and the ARU's firm refusal to consider any players plying their profession outside Australia made Douglas ineligible for further international honours - for the time being.

"They've got to be strong on their stance and encourage boys to stay and play in Australia and for Australia," understood Douglas.

He concluded his five seasons at the Waratahs by playing a central role in their epic Super-15 Rugby final last minute victory over the Canterbury Crusaders.

His three-year move to Leinster makes him a Rugby World Cup non-runner, knowing he has time on his side to grow, to develop and to come back home a better player in 2017.

"I am going to Ireland to experience living in another country, playing in another competition, having a new adventure," he said.

"But, in the back of my mind, I'm hoping to go over there for a couple of years and come back.

"I want to settle in Australia. I wouldn't want to live overseas forever."

Douglas will have to come up to speed quickly with Leinster lined up to combat Cardiff Blues at The RDS on Friday night and the mouth-watering prospect of Munster at The Aviva Stadium on Saturday week for which there have already been 35,000 tickets sold.

It has also been confirmed that Ireland lock Dan Tuohy will be out for twelve weeks with a fracture to his arm.

The Ulster forward will undergo surgery on his right forearm following a scan which revealed the extent of the damage done from a bang suffered against Cardiff Blues on Friday night.

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