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Leinster gamble on ex-American footballer

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PRO 14    

Leinster take a gamble on an ex-American football lineman

Leo Cullen has named his Leinster side to take on Coventry on Saturday in a pre-season friendly, with some new faces in the squad.

One of those is 21-year-old prop Roman Salanoa, who is part of an extended bench and could make his debut.

Salanoa has an interesting background having come from Hawaii where he played high school American football as a defensive lineman.

He tried his hand at rugby late on at school and ended up playing for the USA under-20 team in the World Junior Trophy in 2016. 

Since then, he was selected for Leinster’s sub-academy and has been working his way up from there.

At 6ft and almost 20 stone, the prop is quite formidable and he is set to make his much-anticipated bow for the Irish outfit in what could be the beginning of an interesting career. Here are some highlights of his days in American football: https://youtu.be/2kG56nl0whc

The Irish province may have struck upon something very unique here, as there could be a wealth of talent on the other side of the Atlantic, particularly those who have played American football growing up. 

While Salanoa will probably not be an overnight success, Leinster may have started a trend that could pay off for many teams across Europe.

WATCH: The RugbyPass documentary Foden: Stateside takes a look at how former England full-back Ben Foden has settled into life with MLR’s Rugby United New York 

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Leinster take a gamble on an ex-American football lineman