Kane Douglas has been called up to the Australian World Cup Squad.
Surprised as we were at Kane Douglas’ call up to the Australian World Cup squad, it seems that he is well regarded down under. Despite his underwhelming season with Leinster, Australian Coach, Michael Cheika, has had no issue in selecting Douglas in his Wallabies squad.
It has also been mooted that the Australian Rugby Union are looking into the possibility of buying out the remainder of his contract with Leinster. However the cost of such a move has been put at a prohibitive €250,000. Although Douglas can play for Australia under World Rugby’s Regulation 9, allowing national teams select overseas players during designated test windows, he has neither the seven years involvement nor the 60 caps necessary to play under the ARU’s own ‘Giteau Law’. This therefore places the ARU and Douglas himself in a quandary.
Indeed, it has been reported that Douglas wishes to return to Australia, as his fiancee is pregnant with their first child. However, as the ARU were unwilling to buy out the remainder of Quade Coopers contract with Toulon, valued at €150,000, it would seem unlikely that they would do so for Douglas. A further tweaking of the ‘Giteau Law’ may then be required for Douglas to go to the World Cup.
From Leinster’s point of view, losing Douglas would require the province to enter the transfer market for a second row. However, doing so at this late stage could prove to be difficult, while the situation is further complicated by the fact that the province have yet to appoint a head coach for next season.
Leinster are also short of second row options going into the World Cup. With Devon Toner in Ireland’s squad, it leaves only Mike McCarthy, Tom Denton and Mick Kearney as Leinster’s only recognised locks for the early rounds of the Guinness Pro 12.
It might therefore be a case of it being easier for Leinster to hold onto the under performing Douglas than sell him.
Alan Drumm, Pundit Arena