Douglas back in RWC frame

    2015-07-31 09:44

    Sydney - Lock Kane Douglas became eligible to play for Australia at the Rugby World Cup on Friday when he signed a three-year deal to join the Reds.

    The 26-year-old was released from his contract with Irish province Leinster earlier this month but needed to sign up for one of Australia's five Super Rugby sides to satisfy the Australian Rugby Union's eligibility criteria.

    The 2.02 metre-tall, 120-kg forward always favoured a move to his fiancee's home town of Brisbane, near where his father and rugby league-playing brother Luke live.

    Douglas was a key member of the New South Wales Waratahs team that won the Super Rugby title last year under Michael Cheika, who has since taken over as Wallabies coach.

    Cheika was delighted at the return of an abrasive player who, among other attributes, has the strength and technique to lock up Australia's often fragile scrum on the tighthead side.

    "It's great to see Kane back playing his rugby in Australia for the long term," Cheika said in a news release.

    "His return will bolster our tight five stocks and that is a strong objective of ours over the next 18 months.

    "We will see how Kane is progressing physically over the next week, before considering him for any game time."

    Douglas, who won 14 caps for his country before heading to Ireland, missed the latter part of his only season at Leinster because of a back injury.

    "It's a really exciting time here for the game and I'm looking forward to being a part of it over the next few years," Douglas said.

    "It's great to see the Wallabies build some depth across the park over the past 12 months, especially at lock, and I'll be working hard to fight my way back into contention."

    Cheika is expected to name his squad for next week's Rugby Championship test against world champions New Zealand later on Friday.

    Australia face hosts England, Wales, Fiji and Uruguay in a tough opening round pool at the Sept. 18-Oct. 31 World Cup.

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