Leinster in hunt for 'big name' lock as Ulster miss out on 'bomb squad' Bok
Leinster are in the market for a ‘big name’ southern hemisphere second row as they look to reinforce their options in the engine room.
The likelihood that the URC heavyweights will be without the services of both James Ryan and Ryan Baird during internationals window into the foreseeable, combined with the inevitable retirement of stalwart Devin Toner, appears to be behind the move.
Toner, who signed a one-year contract extension last season after much toing and froing, hasn’t featured for Ireland since February 2020. Though the 35-year-old may have a season or even two left in the tank, Leinster may have half an eye on a longer-term mix.
Leinster regular Ross Moloney has proved to be an able lieutenant for the Dublin-based side, having amassed well over one hundred caps for the province since he debuted in 2015. Beneath him there’s a significant experience gap with 23-year-old prospect Jack Dunne. The 6’8, 120kg lock has made 15 appearances to date and is still very much in his professional rugby infancy.
Head coach Leo Cullen never replaced Wallaby utility forward Scott Fardy with a like-for-like. The Australian retired at the end of 2020/21 after four successful seasons.
Leinster have a track record of big-name forwards penning contracts to come to Dublin and experience brand Leinster. Some have been hugely successful – others not so much.
Brad Thorn, Rocky Elsom, Nathan Hines and Ollie Le Roux [as well as the aforementioned Fardy], all enjoyed celebrated stints in the RDS, becoming firm fan favourites in the process.
Meanwhile, Ulster appear to have missed out on adding another Springbok signing to the roster.
On Friday Joel's Kpoku's move to Lyon was confirmed on social and it may not be the last of its kind announced.
Are Premiership clubs starting to feel the cap squeeze? ?https://t.co/QfL5NortrA
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) November 22, 2021
RugbyPass understands that the northern province have missed out on Stormers loosehead Steven Kitshoff. Kitshoff does not have an exit clause in his current contract, meaning any move would have to be facilitated with a hefty ‘transfer fee’ that apparently ruled out Ulster’s interest.
In all likelihood, this means that he’s most likely heading to France, where he previously spent three seasons with Bordeaux Begles.
Ulster will have to make do with No.8 Duane Vermeulen.
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