The Isuzu Southern Kings have made a giant leap in their efforts of building a competitive team with the signing exciting Irish lock, Jerry Sexton, brother of Johnny.
The 26-year-old Sexton is one of the first inspiring signings for the Isuzu Southern Kings, who are implementing an ambitious recruitment strategy that aims to attract high potential talent.
He will be joining the Port Elizabeth-based franchise as of 1 July 2019 until 30 June 2022.
The 118kg, 1.95m tall second-rower will be a notable recruit for the Isuzu Southern Kings where he will add firepower to the forwards pack, and will make for a thrilling exhibition when he squares up for the first time against older brother, Johnny – the reigning World Rugby Player of the Year, who is the incumbent Ireland and Leinster flyhalf.
Sexton is currently captain of Jersey Reds, who compete in the English Greene King IPA Championship, and is regarded as one of the top performers currently in the championship.
“We are pleased to confirm that we have acquired the services of Irish-born lock, Jerry Sexton,” Isuzu Southern Kings’ Director of High Performance, Robbi Kempson who is spearheading the recruitment process, confirmed.
“Jerry will join us in our pre-season preparations ahead of the start of the 2019/20 Guinness PRO14 season. His contract with us will run until the end of June 2022.
“It is part of our ambitious plan to bring quality players to assist us reach our goal of becoming a world-class side, and the inclusion of individuals like Jerry will bolster this process.”
Sexton has been an ever-present feature in the Jersey Reds’ league XV, starting all 43 Greene King IPA Championship games since moving to Jersey two years ago.
He has been highly regarded in leadership ranks as well, captaining the side in the majority of their matches in the time he has been at the Jersey Reds. He has scored a total of eight tries for the Channel Islands-based side.
“Jerry has contributed a huge amount during his time in Jersey and to see another player get the opportunity to play at the next level is very rewarding for the coaches and should also motivate the players to continue to work towards reaching their own goals,” said Uitenhage-born Jersey Reds Director of Rugby, Harvey Biljon.
“We will all enjoy watching Jerry play in the Pro 14 and potentially even see the ‘Sexton v Sexton’ match-up. I trust he will enjoy South Africa but we hope that we’ll see Jerry in Jersey again in the future.”
Sexton was part of the Ireland Under-20 side that played in the World Rugby Under-20 Championship in 2013 before plying his trade in England where he featured for top clubs Exeter Chiefs and London Irish before joining Jersey Reds in 2017.
“This is an exciting period in my career,” Sexton said.
“I have been following the Isuzu Southern Kings, particularly in the Guinness PRO14, and I am looking forward to be part of the team, the culture and the exciting new era that lies ahead for the franchise.
“I am grateful for the years spent at Jersey Reds and the role the club played in the growth of my career. I look forward to further growth and making a positive contribution at the Isuzu Southern Kings.”
His inclusion in the Isuzu Southern Kings squad follows that of Eastern Cape-born utility back, Courtney Winnaar, who joined the side a fortnight ago, returning to his home province after the 22-year-old spent two year at the Sharks in Durban.
Dan McFarland extends stay with Ulster for a further two years
Ulster Rugby Head Coach, Dan McFarland, has renewed his commitment to the province by signing a new two-year contract extension.
Since joining the club in August 2018, Ulster has regularly competed at the knock-out stages of both the Guinness PRO14 and Heineken Champions Cup, including at the most recent Guinness PRO14 final – a first for the province in seven years.
Of his contract renewal, Dan McFarland, said:
“I’m delighted to be signing again with Ulster. I have thoroughly enjoyed the last two and a half years working and learning with some really good people, and I’m looking forward to continuing to help drive on our improvement as a group and as individuals.
“As a group, we are extremely ambitious in our aim to be consistently competing for championships. With exciting young talent continuing to emerge out of our Academy system, joining forces with the proven talent within our squad – many of whom have been recently recognised at international level – I look forward to what the weeks and months ahead hold as we take on our next challenges in the domestic league and in Europe this season.”
Ulster Rugby CEO, Jonny Petrie, added:
“I’m extremely pleased to see Dan extend his commitment to Ulster Rugby, giving us the opportunity to continue to build on the fantastic work that he has done in his time here so far.
“It is plain to see, both on and off the field of play, the ethos that he has instilled in the group, and that is being borne out both in our performances and our results – a team of which the people of Ulster can be rightly and fiercely proud.
“I’m looking forward to working with Dan in the coming years, to see where we can take this. It’s an exciting prospect.”
Ulster & Leinster announce teams for huge Inter-Pro Clash
The team sees six changes to the side that defeated Munster at Kingspan Stadium on Saturday. Michael Lowry comes in to start at full-back and is joined on the wings by Matt Faddes and last weekend’s Player-of-the-Match, Ethan McIlroy. Stuart McCloskey and James Hume will form the midfield duo, and in the half-backs, John Cooney will partner Billy Burns.
Andrew Warwick and Marty Moore are named at loosehead and tighthead prop, with Rob Herring completing the front row at hooker. Alan O’Connor comes in to pair with captain Sam Carter in the second row. Greg Jones, Jordi Murphy and Marcell Coetzee make up the starting back row forwards.
John Andrew, Eric O’Sullivan, Tom O’Toole, Kieran Treadwell and Nick Timoney will provide forward reinforcements off the bench. David Shanahan, Ian Madigan and Ben Moxham will offer back line cover.
Ulster team to play Leinster Rugby, Guinness PRO14 Round 11, Friday 8 January at the RDS Arena (kick-off 7.35pm, live on Premier Sports / eir Sport):
(15-9) Michael Lowry, Matt Faddes, James Hume, Stuart McCloskey, Ethan McIlroy, Billy Burns, John Cooney.
(1-8) Andrew Warwick, Rob Herring, Marty Moore, Alan O’Connor, Sam Carter (Capt.), Greg Jones, Jordi Murphy, Marcell Coetzee.
Replacements: John Andrew, Eric O’Sullivan, Tom O’Toole, Kieran Treadwell, Nick Timoney, David Shanahan, Ian Madigan, Ben Moxham.
The Leinster Rugby team, as sponsored by Bank of Ireland, to face Ulster Rugby in the RDS Arena in Round 11 of the Guinness PRO14 has been announced by Leo Cullen (KO 7.35pm live on eir Sport and RTÉ Radio).
Johnny Sexton will captain the team as a number of players return from injury for the top of Conference A clash.
Hugo Keenan is selected at full back with Jordan Larmour back after a shoulder injury to start on the right wing and Dave Kearney selected on the left.
Robbie Henshaw starts in the inside centre jersey with Ross Byrne starting outside him in the number 13 jersey for the first time in his Leinster senior career.
In the half-backs, Jamison Gibson-Park is joined by captain Johnny Sexton.
Cian Healy starts at loosehead prop with Andrew Porter at tighthead, while Seán Cronin makes his first start of the season at hooker after recovering from a thumb injury.
Former Australian international Scott Fardy is joined by James Ryan in the second row while, in the back row, fit-again Rhys Ruddock starts with Josh van der Flier at openside and Caelan Doris at number eight.
On the bench, Harry Byrne returns from a back injury picked up in the warm-up before the Northampton Saints game.
Team News from Ulster Rugby & Leinster Rugby
Ulster to welcome 1,000 fans for Scarlets clash
Ulster Rugby last night announced that 1,000 supporters will be welcomed to the Kingspan Stadium this weekend. Statement from Ulster Rugby below:
The Ulster Men have played behind closed doors since the opening game of the season against Benetton Rugby when the club successfully trialled the safe return of spectators following extensive consultation with the IRFU, Belfast City Council and the Northern Ireland Executive.
All 500 pairs of tickets will be made available to #TogetherUlster Members only via an online ballot process. Members who applied for tickets to the Benetton match but missed out due to limited availability will receive priority in the ballot.
Sunday night’s match will feature a mix of seating and terracing in operation across all four stands and the East Terrace. Tickets are again priced at £20 each, allocated in groups of two with two-metre physical distancing factored in.
The online ballot will be open for 24 hours from 1pm on Tuesday 17 November on the Ulster Rugby Ticket Account Manager, and account holders can apply for one pair of tickets per every Adult #TogetherUlster Membership held. All successful applicants will be notified on Wednesday evening once the ballot has closed and tickets have been allocated. Members will then have until 1pm on Thursday 19 November to confirm their ticket purchase and process payment.