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Pro14

Are Ulster set to sign a Springbok Medical Joker?

You guessed it. He’s from the Sharks.

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Photo By Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile via Getty Images

Ulster Rugby are a fan of South Africans, in particular, Sharks and it looks like another Shark could be about to join their ranks.

Reports in the South African news publication ‘RapportSA’ indicate that Springbok Prop Thomas Du Toit is set to sign with the Irish Province on a short term contract.

Du Toit or ‘Tank’ as he’s often referred to in South Africa failed to make the final 31-man Springbok World Cup Squad having made his Test Debut in 2018.

Du Toit (24) has already had a stint in Ireland when he signed for Munster in 2016 on a similar short term contract. Back then he was a loose-head but has recently transitioned across the front row to a Test quality Tighthead.

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The farm boy from Koringberg, just outside Moorreesburg in the Western Cape, was always a talented loosehead prop but with, among others, 100-Test veteran Beast Mtawarira standing in his way at the Sharks, Du Toit decided a move to tighthead would be best for him. He battled initially, but is now showing huge progress and looks set to be part of the Bok set-up for years to come.

“There was a big opportunity at tighthead this year (2018), with Lourens Adriaanse moving out of the system and the Sharks having quality looseheads like Tendai and Juan Schoeman in the mix,” explained Du Toit speaking with IOL.

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Ulster did make move in the offseason to recruit new front-row talent with former Worcester Warriors prop Gareth Milasinovich making the move to Belfast. He, unfortunately, suffered a serious ACL injury in pre-season and looks set to miss the majority of the season.

If the move comes to fruition, he will join a long line of Sharks who have worn the Red Hand of Ulster following on from Johann Muller, Stefan Terblanche, Ruan Pienaar, Marcell Coetzee, Jean Deysel to name a few.

6 Nations

Huge boost for Ulster & Ireland as Henderson signs new deal

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Photo By Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile via Getty Images

Ulster captain, Iain Henderson, who has represented the province on 116 occasions, has secured his future with the club for the next two years.

Craigavon-born Henderson, who took up the role of Ulster captain in 2019, has progressed through the Ulster development system. Starting with mini rugby at Academy RFC, his early playing career saw him reach the final of the Danske Bank Schools Cup in 2010 with Belfast Royal Academy, represent Queen’s University Belfast as well as Ireland at Age-Grade level, before quickly rising through the ranks of senior professional rugby in the province.

Iain, who captained Ireland for the first time against France in this year’s Guinness Six Nations, made his international debut against South Africa in November 2012 and has won 60 caps to date for his country. 

A Lions tourist in 2017, Iain succeeded Rory Best as Ulster captain in 2019.  

David Nucifora, IRFU Performance Director, commented,

“Over the past few seasons Iain has really developed into a leader within both the Ireland and Ulster squads. He is part of the national leadership group, captaining Ireland recently for the first time and we are delighted to have ensured that he continues his career in Ireland.”

Iain Henderson, commented,

“It has been a great honour to captain both Ulster and Ireland in recent times. Irish rugby is in a good place despite the disruption the sport has experienced during the pandemic. As professionals, we have been in a privileged position to be able to continue playing and I know we all hope to see supporters back in the Aviva and Kingspan in the near future.”

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Pro14

Ulster issue positive update on Coetzee injury

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Photo By Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Many Ulster fans feared they may have seen the last appearance of Springbok Marcell Coetzee in an Ulster shirt after he was helped from the field on Friday night but a medical update has been issued which appears to be more positive than what was initially feared.

Update below:

The Ulster Rugby Medical Performance Team has issued a squad update ahead of Friday’s Guinness PRO14 Round 13 fixture against Ospreys at Kingspan Stadium.

Marcell Coetzee suffered a thigh muscle contusion in Ulster Rugby’s Guinness PRO14 Round 12 match against Glasgow Warriors. His availability for selection for the upcoming game against Ospreys will be assessed through the coming week.

There are no other new injury concerns arising from Friday night’s game at Scotstoun Stadium.

Squad updates in association with The Ulster Independent Clinic.

Update ends.

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Pro14

Murphy to Captain Ulster against a strong Glasgow team

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(Photo By John Dickson/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Jordi Murphy will captain Ulster for the first time in Friday’s return to Guinness PRO14 action, while the trip to Glasgow will also mark significant milestones for Kieran Treadwell and Marty Moore. 

Murphy will start at openside flanker, alongside fellow loose forwards Nick Timoney and Marcell Coetzee. Treadwell will become the latest Ulster centurion as he is named to start along with Alan O’Connor in the second row. In the front row, Eric O’Sullivan returns from international duty to join John Andrew and Marty Moore, who will make his 50th Ulster appearance. 

In the backs, John Cooney and Stuart McCloskey are also released from Ireland camp and will start in their familiar 9 and 12 jerseys. Ian Madigan will partner Cooney at fly-half, with James Hume joining McCloskey in midfield. Rob Lyttle makes his return from injury on the left wing, with Craig Gilroy on the right and Michael Lowry at full-back.  

Academy second row, Cormac Izuchukwu is set to make his senior debut if called upon from the bench. He is named alongside Adam McBurney, Andrew Warwick, Tom O’Toole – also returning from international duties – and Greg Jones in the forward reinforcements. Alby Mathewson, Stewart Moore and Matt Faddes will provide back line cover.  

Ulster team to play Glasgow Warriors, Guinness PRO14 Round 12, Friday 19 February at Scotstoun Stadium (kick-off 7.35pm, live on Premier Sports / eir Sport): 

(15-9) Michael Lowry, Craig Gilroy, James Hume, Stuart McCloskey, Rob Lyttle, Ian Madigan, John Cooney; 

(1-8) Eric O’Sullivan, John Andrew, Marty Moore, Alan O’Connor, Kieran Treadwell, Nick Timoney, Jordi Murphy (Capt.), Marcell Coetzee.  

Replacements: Adam McBurney, Andrew Warwick, Tom O’Toole, Cormac Izuchukwu, Greg Jones, Alby Mathewson, Stewart Moore, Matt Faddes.

Glasgow Warriors have named a strong lineup with lots of Scottish caps and releases and a welcome return for mercurial Out-Half, Adam Hastings.

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