As Christian Lealiifano prepares to leave when his short term deal expires after there game against Wasps on the 21st January, Ulster are now searching for a suitable replacement.
Ulster will be searching far and wide for a suitable candidate to come in and perform at the highest level from the word go. But who is available currently who could do such a job?
The mercurial fly-half is widely known as available at the minute and rumours about the Australian are flying around daily. After Brad Thorn revealed that he had no plans to use Quade in the upcoming Super Rugby season the rumour mill has been in full swing. Rumours are cast as far and wide as the Blues in New Zealand to Wasps in the Aviva Premiership.
Quade has been fairly silent on the matter and has been spending time training with his long time friend Sonny Bill Williams in New Zealand.
I’m not sure that Quade is going to go for the life in Ulster, i don’t see him as a favourite to fill this role as his Aussie compatriot heads back down under.
The veteran is available and the world cup winner has also spent his fair share of time in the Norther Hemisphere, spending two seasons at Bath from 2011-13. He is playing Japan after leaving the Chiefs at the end of the super rugby season.
Will Stephen want to uproot and come back to Europe at 34, it remains to be seen but i’m sure he’s on a decent wedge in Japan and Ulster would need to match this. Lealiifano moved to get match fitness at a top level, he’s now going to go back and be fighting for Wallabies selection, Donald isn’t in that situation. So unless he wants one last chance in the big leagues again it seems unlikely that he’ll be named.
Ulster does have Johnny McPhillips on their books and he got a chance against Leinster and did a good job by all accounts. But they want some experience to help run the ship and help bring on McPhillips.
We look forward to Ulster bringing in a big name, all we know is it will be an overseas player. I think it would be a massive coup for them to be able to bring Quade Cooper though. Stephen Donald….maybe.