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Monday 18 December 2017

Refreshed Douglas ready to lead the line for Blues

Kane Douglas
Kane Douglas

"If you build it, they will come."

This line from Kevin Costner's film The Field of Dreams hasn't worked out the way Michael Cheika would have wanted.

The Australian built a winning culture at Leinster that has taken Kane Douglas away from his Waratahs. Ben Te'o too.

That's right. Cheika gave way to Douglas's want-away decision and he also lost his fight to take Te'o to The 'Tahs.

Cheika started the process of building a champion club. Now, he has had to watch in silence as Douglas and Te'o have moved there.

There has been sadness in Douglas's past. His mother passed away in May, 2013. Trish Douglas suffered a stroke on a flight from Australia as her middle son was about to play for The Wallabies in November 2012.

Kane sat at her bedside in London in between playing test matches against France and Wales for The Wallabies. His two brothers, Luke and Jake, and father Chris were there too.

Perhaps, it brought a different perspective to his life. He turned away from the 2015 World Cup to sample a new life in Europe.

"There's things that have gone on in my life and I thought it would be the best decision for me," he said.

"I had plenty of time to think about it and I thought it was the right decision for myself and my girlfriend to do something different from a rugby point of view and off-field, to come and see the world and play in a different competition.

Why Leinster? "I talked to a few clubs. Leinster gave me a lot of time to think about it and I did have my heart set on Ireland for some reason.

"It was in the back of mind. I thought Ireland would be a pretty cool place to go."

So far, so good.

While Douglas would be "pretty flattered" were he to receive a call from Cheika, Australia's new coach, he has much to do at his new club.

"There is definitely a bit more focus on the set piece.

"I sorta feel I am not getting around as much as I should. But, maybe, it is putting more effort into the set-pieces that is taking it out of me".

He also has a plan to use his time away from Australia as a way to improve his leadership skills.

"I need to push myself more," he stated.

"In all the teams I've played in, I've probably taken that step back and been a follower.

"It will be good to start working on some skills like that and push myself into showing I'm a leader and being able to talk a bit more.

"I suppose in the past I've tried to lead with my actions but it would be good to start thinking about that and improving on things.

"It's only going to make me better. It's good to have guys like Leo (Cullen) around, with his experience, and sit down with him every week."

Edinburgh will be in town on Friday night. It could be time to talk the talk.

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