LEINSTER PROP Michael Ala’alatoa is reportedly set to join French club Clermont next summer.
Accordingly L’EquipeAla’alatoa has agreed to join the Top 14 team and will leave Leinster at the end of this season.
The 32-year-old has returned for Leinster after representing Samoa at the Rugby World Cup.
Samoa were eliminated from the competition in the group stage after beating Chile but losing to England, Argentina and Japan.
Ala’alatoa has reportedly agreed to a two-year contract with Clermont after news of negotiations emerged last week.
The prop extended his contract with Leinster back in March as he agreed to stay until the end of this campaign.
Ala’alatoa joined Leinster in 2021 after leaving New Zealand club Crusaders.
He played an important role for the province, playing a starring role in both Champions Cup final defeats to La Rochelle.
Meanwhile, Ala’alatoa’s Leinster teammate Max Deegan has drawn up a plan to get back into the Irish squad.
Deegan watched his fellow strikers Jack Conan, Josh van der Flier, Caelan Doris and Ryan Baird have big moments at the World Cup and some were jealous knowing he was so close.
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He said: “There are four back rows in the Irish Leinster squad. So if you beat them here I think you’ll get into the Irish squad.
“If you play in the Leinster team week in week out I think you have a good chance of getting into the Ireland squad.”
Deegan has kept all four players out before and knows he is highly regarded by the Irish coaches.
When an up-and-coming Irish team traveled to South Africa last October, 27-year-old Deegan was their captain.
He said: “Coming back from my knee injury, being out for a year and then having a slow year trying to get back up to speed, it was fantastic that something like that was there for me and I could keep going.”
“I had a really great time and I think I learned a lot and gained a lot from it. Obviously being captain was fantastic because I worked so closely with the coaches.
“That led to the Autumn Nations period where I felt really good.”
The Dubliner then played in the senior international against New Zealand Maori before making a cameo appearance against Fiji – his second cap – in the November series.
Deegan added: “I was feeling really good then I picked up an injury against Munster which set me back a month and a half, two months.
“I missed the Six Nations squad. At the time I felt like I was pushing to be back in the run-up to the announcement of the World Cup training squad, but I narrowly missed the cut there.
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“I think I get along well with the coaches and I like the atmosphere, it’s a great environment.
“But to get back into it I really need to focus on how good I am here, what I’m doing in Leinster, pushing as much as I can here and pushing the players around me.”