Leo Cullen was unable to give any indication of Tadhg Furlong’s future at Leinster, as the Ireland international still has not signed a new contract.
Leinster renewed the contracts of 15 players last week and announced the signings of Munster scrum-half Nick McCarthy and Crusaders prop Michael Alaalatoa. Ireland prop Tadhg Furlong is yet to sign a new contract with the club, however.
Cullen revealed at a press conference that he was unable to confirm that the Wexford man would be staying at the club next season.
#LeinsterRugby announced two new signings and 15 contract extensions this week. 👊🔵
Read the head coach’s thoughts 👇https://t.co/PRLhKuM41E
— Leinster Rugby (@leinsterrugby) April 17, 2021
Leo Cullen on Tadhg Furlong.
“I can give you no clarity, no. I’m sorry, it’s a short answer. I’d love to say I can, but I can’t. Like all these things, these negotiations, they play out the way they do. I don’t have any clarity, unfortunately,” Cullen said.
“Yeah, absolutely. He’s such an important player in the group, Tadhg. You could see we missed him in the group, particularly that early part of the season.
“I think it was the same [for Ireland], the national coaches would probably say something similar as well and he’s made a big impact since he’s come back just before the Six Nations.
“He had that 40 minutes against Scarlets and straight into the Six Nations and he had some big performances during the course of that tournament. But yeah, competition is good in that area.”
‘Alaalatoa understands the role he will play.’
The signing of Samoan international Michael Alaalatoa raised some eyebrows, as Leinster currently have two world-class tightheads contracted to them in Furlong and Andrew Porter.
There has been suggestions that Porter could switch back to being a loosehead prop, which is where he played at the start of his career, as Leinster have less depth in that position.
Cullen didn’t give any real insight into how his first-choice front-row would look next season, saying that Alaalatoa was brought in as he will be important to the team on “big days”.
𝙒𝙚𝙡𝙘𝙤𝙢𝙚, 𝙈𝙞𝙘𝙝𝙖𝙚𝙡 🙌
— Leinster Rugby (@leinsterrugby) April 12, 2021
“It’s a position we value strongly, as we saw ourselves the importance of the scrum when it comes to big days in particular. We want to be involved in some of those big days,” Cullen explained.
“Mike understands the role he will play with the wider group and it’s something he’s used to with the Crusaders’ environment.”