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'He is a big man' - Cullen keeps cards close to chest on Springbok signing

By Ian Cameron
Jason Jenkins (Photo by Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images)

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Leinster head coach Leo Cullen remained relatively tight-lipped about the rumoured signing of Munster second row Jason Jenkins, when quizzed on the subject in Dublin today.

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Leinster have been linked with the giant 6’7, 125kg second row, whose career to date at Munster has been curtailed by injury. The one-cap Bok has played just four times for Munster but has drawn interest from both Bath and Connacht according to some reports.

Leinster appear set to lose at least one – and possibly two – of their homegrown secondrow prospects. Jack Dunne (6’8, 120kg) has been linked with a move to Exter Chiefs, while RugbyPass understands that uncapped academy product Charlie Ryan (6’8, 115kg) is also on the brink of leaving.

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Cullen refused to say whether or not Leinster were in the process of signing Jenkins.

“We don’t normally comment on this speculation, but I can see how it would make sense for certain people’s minds, for sure. I know that Johann (Van Graan) talks very, very highly of him. He is a big man.

“You see in some of the big games, South Africa winning the World Cup and that Lions series, the emphasis particularly around the scrum and maul.

“We don’t bring a huge amount of guys in from outside as you would be well aware. Big Mike Ala’alatoa is our only foreign player.

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“Mike is starting this weekend. He has had an unbelievable impact. Sometimes a bit of that experience from the outside is good for the group. Mike is also a very big man which is good. Him and his family have settled in well. He is a good member of the group. You can see the quality he brings.

“We will comment further if there is anything official to be announced.”

This weekend against Bath in the Heineken Champions Cup Leinster have been forced to play Josh Murphy – who’s more usually found in the back row – in the second row with James Ryan injured.

Johnny Sexton returns to lead the side out, his first start for the province since the win over Scarlets in mid-October.

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LEINSTER TEAM FOR BATH:
15. Hugo Keenan
14. Jordan Larmour
13. Garry Ringrose
12. Robbie Henshaw
11. Jimmy O’Brien
10. Johnny Sexton
9. Luke McGrath

1. Andrew Porter
2. Rónan Kelleher
3. Michael Ala’alatoa
4. Ross Molony
5. Josh Murphy
6. Caelan Doris
7. Josh van der Flier
8. Jack Conan

Replacements:
16. Dan Sheehan
17. Cian Healy
18. Vakh Abdaladze
19. Ryan Baird
20. Max Deegan
21. Jamison Gibson-Park
22. Ross Byrne
23. Ciarán Frawley

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