Jack McGrath: Leinster's Ireland and Lions prop linked with move to Ulster

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Ulster Rugby Attack coach Dwayne Peel

Ulster have declined to comment on reports that Ireland prop Jack McGrath is considering a move to Belfast.

The Irish Independent says talks are at an advanced stage over a possible switch by the IRFU-contracted player.

McGrath has started just six games for Leinster this season after surgery on a long-standing hip injury in November.

Cian Healy is Leinster's first-choice loose-head, while Ed Byrne was on the bench instead of McGrath for last month's match against Toulouse.

The 29-year-old is thought to have another year remaining on his central contract with Irish Rugby but could opt to move provinces in search of more game time.

Ulster assistant coach Dwayne Peel described the report as "speculation" and added that player recruitment is "not part of my department" when asked about the possible arrival of the British and Irish Lions forward for next season.

Limited opportunities

Healy started in Ireland's opening Six Nations games against England and Scotland, with Munster's David Kilcoyne edging out McGrath for the replacement loose-head berth in both matches.

With Healy rested for last weekend's game against Italy, Kilcoyne started in Rome and McGrath was introduced for the final quarter at the Stadio Olimpico.

McGrath featured in all three of the Lions' Tests against New Zealand in 2017, but Healy started four matches in last year's Six Nations as Ireland clinched the Grand Slam and he remained first choice loose-head against Argentina and the All Blacks in November.

The prop's former provincial team-mate Jordi Murphy moved to Ulster last summer after helping Leinster to a European and Pro14 double.

Marty Moore and John Cooney are among a number of other ex-Leinster players who are now playing for the Kingspan Stadium side.