Leinster's best XV with Joe Tomane and everyone fit is a scary prospect
Stop the lights.
Leinster are losing Jordi Murphy, Richardt Strauss and Isa Nacewa this summer and Joey Carbery is heading out the exit door to Munster.
Stuart Lancaster and Leo Cullen have overseen an damned impressive turnaround in the past two seasons and have brought Leinster to a point where they are the dominant side in Europe. They have swatted aside all of their nearest challengers. Racing 92 were the one side to properly trouble them but even they ended up on the losing side.
Nacewa, Murphy and Strauss are now the past but Jordan Larmour, Vakh Abdaladze, Josh Murphy and Ireland U20 Caelan Doris have all been promoted from the academy. They are the future.
The province are also closing in on versatile Australian back Joe Tomane. SportsJOE first reported that Tomane was in the frame for a move from Montpellier to Leinster in early May but a spokesperson from the province distanced themselves from the move.
However, we understand that the switch for the former Brumbies and Australia is definitely in the frame and the move should be confirmed in June.
The 28-year-old played three seasons of professional rugby league Down Under before switching codes and joining the Brumbies. He has played 17 times for Australia but his move to France meant his last game for the Wallabies was at the 2015 World Cup.
With Nacewa officially retired, Tomane could slot into the Leinster backline. He can play both midfield slots as well as covering the wing.
Leinster have a wealth of backline options but very often lose a slew of players during international windows [for instance, there are seven Leinster backs in the current Ireland squad]. Having an international standard back who would not be called up for Test duty would greatly benefit Leinster. Scott Fardy has played Test rugby with Tomane and has vouched for him to Cullen and Lancaster.
Slotting the 6-foot-3, 253lbs back into the Leinster squad gives them greater flexibility for 2018/19. Looking ahead to next season, here is one way Leinster could line out with the new man on-board, and with [wishful thinking] everyone fit.
The major casualties here are Jordan Larmour, Rhys Ruddock and, most contentiously, Devin Toner. We have Fardy back in the second row as Sean O'Brien, with luck, will be fit from the beginning of next season.
Such is the strength of Leinster at present that we have selected a completely different XV that would give most sides in Europe a run for their money.
ALTERNATIVE LEINSTER XV
That alternative XV contains 11 Ireland internationals [it may be 12 if Ross Byrne debuts against Australia this summer], kiwi scrum-half Jamison Gibson Park, Ross Molony and Max Deegan.
And that is without the likes of Josh Murphy, Brian Byrne, Ed Byrne, Barry Daly, Michael Bent, Nick McCarthy and more. The likes of Charlie Rock, Jack Augnier and Tommy O'Brien will also be targeting game time with the senior squad next season.
The seat of power in Europe, right now, lies in Leinster.