Dublin-based Wallabies forward Kane Douglas, a potential key World Cup inclusion, is desperate to break his Irish club contract to return home for family reasons.
Douglas has spoken to Leinster club officials about sorting out an agreement for him to return to Australia to be with his family as soon as possible.
The 26-year-old former NSW Waratahs lock is seeking an early compassionate release from his deal with Leinster – which runs for another two seasons – after struggling to settle in the Irish capital.
Douglas’s mother Trish passed away in 2013 while his girlfriend is pregnant with the couple’s first child.
He wants to play with the Queensland Reds in Super Rugby next season to be closer to his father and brother Luke, who plays NRL for the Gold Coast Titans, as well as his partner’s family.
“There are a few things going on at home that I need to be there for,” the 14-Test second-rower said in a statement from Dublin. “I didn’t think it would be this tough to be away from it all and I hope I can get back home real soon.
“It’s been a good time but also tough here and I have spoken to the club about what’s going on with my family and I have made it pretty clear that I want to get it sorted.”
Douglas left Australia last year as Australia’s form lock and his then NSW coach, Michael Cheika, didn’t believe the Australian Rugby Union did enough to keep him.
Now Wallabies coach, Cheika’s frustrations linger as the hard-hitting 202cm, 123kg second-rower would well be in the thick of a starting role at this year’s World Cup, kicking off in England in September, if available.
Douglas must be signed to an Australian Super Rugby franchise to be eligible for the Wallabies at the World Cup.
It’s understood former ARU high-performance manager David Nucifora, now working for the Irish Rugby Football Union, is pressuring Leinster not to release Douglas without a huge compensation deal.
The ARU have already rejected Leinster’s request of $370,000 for a release.
The timing of the tug-of-war is also interesting as Douglas would need some time playing for the Wallabies before the World Cup to ensure his selection.