Leinster have moved quickly to pour cold water on reports linking them with a move for ex-All Black and World Cup winning second row Brad Thorn.
Thorn, 37 next month, left the Crusaders following New Zealand’s World Cup win and is currently in the middle of a six-month contract with Japanese outfit Fukuoka Sanix Blues.
Leinster meanwhile are in the middle of a second-row crisis with captain Leo Cullen set to go under the surgeon’s knife to repair an Achilles problem that will keep him out of action for two months while Steven Sykes has returned to his native South Africa to rejoin the Sharks ahead of the start of the Super Rugby season.
Added to that, Devin Toner is away with the Wolfhounds and Leinster’s Kiwi coach Joe Schmidt knows only too well he will need reinforcements with the Heineken Cup knock-out stages looming.
Any short-term deal to cover the latter stages of the competition would have to be approved by the IRFU however and Leinster are playing down suggestions Thorn’s arrival is imminent.
"It's purely speculation," said a Leinster spokesperson. "We are looking at players in that position at the moment, but we do not comment on specific targets."