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Leinster prop heading to Ulster?

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Irish Lion in potential provincial switch - reports

Transfer season is beginning to wrap up in the northern hemisphere, with the majority of deals done and dusted and just awaiting the final flourishes of a well-produced signing video for dispersal on social media.

That said, it’s not just players in the final years of their contracts who are moving on this summer, with a number of players seeking early releases from their deals for one reason or another.

WaspsElliot Daly still had another year to run on his contract in the West Midlands, but that did not prevent him from invoking a release clause and agreeing to move to Saracens this summer. Similarly, RugbyPass understand that new Wasps signing Sione Vailanu also had a year still to go on his contract at Saracens.

According to reports in the Irish Independent, Leinster loosehead Jack McGrath could be the next to join the early-leavers club.

The 54-times capped Irish international has found playing time hard to come by this season, with Cian Healy enjoying a renaissance in his playing career, just a year or two after it was thought injuries could see the dynamic prop forced into an early retirement.

McGrath, 29, is under contract with Leinster and the IRFU until the summer of 2020, but according to the article in the Independent, both he and the IRFU are frustrated at his lack of opportunities in the capital and that a move north to Ulster could solve the problem.

Ulster have found themselves undermanned in the front row at times this season and the addition of McGrath would come as welcome relief to their stock of looseheads.

The prop has spent his entire professional career with Leinster to date and he played a crucial role in many of the province’s successes since he joined in 2010, including helping guide the side to the Guinness PRO14 and European Rugby Champions Cup double in 2018.

Hip surgery in November has impacted McGrath’s season with Leinster and Ireland, although he was used as a replacement in Ireland’s 26-16 victory over Italy in Rome at the weekend. He was also involved in the 2017 British and Irish Lions tour of New Zealand, coming off the bench in all three of the Tests with the All Blacks.

If McGrath makes the move to Belfast, he will join Worcester WarriorsGareth Milasinovich in calling the Kingspan Stadium home next season, with confirmation of the tighthead’s arrival coming on Tuesday.

Watch: Sean Fitzpatrick gives his thoughts on the threat Ireland offer to New Zealand at the RWC

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Irish Lion in potential provincial switch - reports