With Jonathan Sexton moving to Racing Metro next season, Leinster have been strongly linked with former Junior All Black flyhalf Jimmy Gopperth who currently plays with Newcastle Falcons in the RFU Championship.

Gopperth would bring plenty of top-level experience with him to the RDS having spent four years in Super Rugby with New Zealand sides the Hurricanes and the Blues.

The 29-year-old made the switch to northern hemisphere rugby when he joined Newcastle in 2009.

He couldn’t prevent the club’s relegation to RFU Championship last season but the Falcons are poised to return to the Aviva Premiership with a 25-point lead at the top of the Championship table.

While Leinster’s current second-choice pivot Ian Madigan is expected to fill the number 10 jersey when Sexton departs, Joe Schmidt will be looking for someone to provide competition for the position and Gopperth would offer an experienced alternative to the youthful Madigan.

Madigan’s recent call up to the Irish squad ahead of Ronan O’Gara also suggests the 23-year old will be more involved in the national setup going forward meaning Schmidt will need reliable cover during the international schedule.

The European champions had also been linked with Ulsterman Gareth Steenson who caught the eye with a 17-point personal tally against Conor O’Shea’s Harlequins over the weekend.

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