Monday 18 December 2017

Leinster could swoop to sign Jager from Crusaders

Oliver Jager. Pic: Sportsfile
Oliver Jager. Pic: Sportsfile

Leinster could do a lot worse than swoop in to take Canterbury tight-head Oliver Jager back home to Ireland.

For all of the deep playing resources at the province, head coach Leo Cullen and scrum-coach John Fogarty are currently in the process of transferring Andrew Porter from loose-to-tight.

The 21-year-old has done well enough in the tightest of windows to earn a place in Joe Schmidt's Ireland squad which has just landed in New York for Saturday's test match against the United States.

The move to transfer Porter follows on from the same decision to trial Jeremy Loughman at tight-head for Leinster 'A' in the British & Irish Cup.

In fairness, Jager (21), did a remarkable job to control his side of the New Zealand Provincial Barbarians scrum for an hour up against no less operators than England's Mako Vunipola and Ireland captain Rory Best.

"Look, we'll see," said Jager about a return home to Ireland.

"I'm out of contract at the end of this season, but we're working on a new one at the moment. Nothing's been confirmed yet.

"It's literally gone day-by-day. Now, it's going year-by-year and, hopefully, the next few years will go every two, three years.

"That's just the way rugby is. You never really know where you're going to end up."

Heck, there isn't an Irish province that wouldn't embrace a 21-year-old tight-head with Super Rugby experience, who has shown the ambition to leave home at just 17 to pursue his dream of becoming a professional.

At present, Jager has an outside shot at playing for Crusaders - he has made three Super Rugby appearances off the bench this season - against The Lions at Christchurch on Saturday.

"It was always a team I wanted to play for," he said about The Lions.

"That's a team any Irish boy would want to play for.

"But, circumstances happened and I ended up playing against them."

Meanwhile, the Ireland U20s trying experience at the World Cup in Georgia has been further hampered by the loss of Angus Curtis to concussion.

The out-half will be replaced by Conor Fitzgerald and fellow Munsterman Liam Coombes will come in for back-three flyer Colm Hogan, ruled out of the tournament by an ankle injury.

All of this comes ahead of their final Pool match in which they will have to defeat undefeated New Zealand on Thursday (KO 1.30, Irish time) to avoid a whitewash.

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