RaboDirect PRO12
Leinster keen on signing Thorn
ESPNscrum Staff
February 7, 2012
All Blacks lock Brad Thorn enjoys a joke with the media, New Zealand press conference, Rugby World Cup, Auckland, New Zealand, October 17, 2011
Brad Thorn could join Leinster on a three-month deal © Getty Images
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Players/Officials: Tommy Bowe | Sebastien Chabal | Brad Thorn
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Leinster are close to agreeing a deal to sign World Cup winning second-row Brad Thorn, according to reports.

Thorn is currently turning out for Japanese side Fukuouka Sanix Blues but with their season at an end, Thorn could join the Heineken Cup champions for the rest of the season - if the Japanese side agree to his release. Joe Schmidt's side are currently in the midst of an injury crisis in the second-row with Leo Cullen sidelined and Stephen Sykes back in South Africa.

Schmidt is hopeful that Thorn will be in Leinster colours sooner rather than later. "We've been left pretty short in the second-row department," Schmidt told the Irish Independent. "Brad is pretty keen to come if that's possible. That's the first step and the second is to gain approval from the IRFU and they've been very good. They can identify that we do have a real shortage in the second-row.

"That would be something that they would be agreeable to as long as we can get an agreement with the Japanese club. We've been in contact with them and we're waiting for some feedback from them.

"We will probably know in the next week or so. We're working on a very tight time-frame. We would need him by early March to get a three-month contract that would make him eligible to cover us in the ERC games as well as the Rabo games."

If the Thorn deal fails to materialise, then Schmidt has not ruled out a move for the newly free agent Sebastien Chabal. Schmidt said: "Would we talk to him? Never say never because we've got to look at the resources we have currently, and while we have confidence in the personnel we have, if we get one more injury we are very, very skinny."

And in related news, Ulster are understood to be on the verge of completing the signing of Ireland winger Tommy Bowe. The British & Irish Lions flyer is currently turning out for PRO12 rivals the Ospreys, but is set to return to his former side at the end of the current season.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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