According to reports in News Corp publications today, former Waratahs and Wallabies lock Kane Douglas is in line for a call-up to the 2015 Rugby World Cup squad.
Douglas is currently contracted to Irish club Leinster. His move there after the Waratahs won the 2014 Super Rugby title was rather controversial, considering he was one of the form locks in the country at the time, and a certain for Wallaby selection, either as a starter or off the bench.
Now it looks as though the ARU will do just about anything to get him back on the playing roster for the Wallabies, with the feisty second rower reportedly looking at being drafted in under Regulation 9, which allows players to be called up for Test duty over club matches.
But this flies in the face of the rule institutes just two months ago by the ARU, which states players need to have played 60 matches for the Wallabies, and at least seven years at Super Rugby level.
Just two months ago, ARU CEO Bill Pulver addressed this very issue, and how it was affecting Australian rugby.
“With World Rugby’s Regulation 9 (that requires clubs to release selected players to play for their country during approved Test windows) we clearly have the capability to do that. Maybe they’ll think twice about recruiting some of our players.”
Now it seems they want to go further by taking Douglas to the World Cup, who is currently recovering from a back injury.
Whether or not he signs for the Reds, as reported by the Daily Telegraph, he wouldn’t play a Super Rugby match before the World Cup.
Dan Vickerman was in a similar position during the 2011 Rugby World Cup, but he came back for the end of the Super Rugby season with the Waratahs that year, just like Dean Mumm did this year. Mumm currently finds himself in the Wallabies squad.
Leinster confirmed the request in a statement.
“We are delighted for Kane and wish him well as he seeks the form and fitness required for selection for the Rugby Championship and, of course, the Rugby World Cup after that,” Leinster’s Guy Easterby said.
“We have been in discussions with the Australian Rugby union and with Kane for a few weeks now and we have made our position very clear.
“Kane is contracted to Leinster Rugby for another two seasons and we look forward to welcoming him back when his commitments with the ARU come to an end.”
This seems to be at odds with what Michael Cheika told News Corp yesterday.
“If he signs for a Super Rugby team then, of course, we’d be interested in him but otherwise he’s not qualified until he works out the contract he has with Leinster.”
So is he being sought by the Reds? If so, does that make him eligible for Wallabies selection, like Nick Cummins at the end of last season?