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Ulster announce 4 more contract extensions

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(Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)

John Andrew, Kieran Treadwell, Andrew Warwick and Nathan Doak all commit to Ulster until at least June 2023.

Ballymena-born, John Andrew, who scored a hat-trick of tries against Edinburgh in November to help cement the bonus-point win over the Scottish side, has put pen-to-paper on a new two year deal.

The hooker, who came through the ranks of the Ulster development system is known for the athleticism and intelligence he brings to the game. Of today’s news, Andrew, said:

“I’m very happy to have signed-on for the next couple of years having really enjoyed this season so far, despite the challenges brought about by the pandemic. I’m excited to have the chance to be playing in front of our fans again at Kingspan Stadium whenever that may be in the future.”

Of the announcement, Ulster Rugby Head Coach, Dan McFarland, said: “John has demonstrated how valuable he is to the Ulster set-up – he has had some outstanding performances this season against the likes of Glasgow, Dragons and Edinburgh. He is a very proud Ulsterman who is dedicated to both his own and the team’s development.”

25-year-old lock, Kieran Treadwell, who will hit his 100 cap milestone on his next appearance for the province, has consistently delivered for Ulster since arriving in 2016. The Ireland-qualified player is known for his exuberant running and ball-carrying, which is a skillset he is set to continue to bring to the squad over the next two years. On choosing to remain at Ulster, Treadwell, said:

“I really appreciate the opportunity to continue playing in the Ulster shirt. The province has welcomed me with open arms, and it is an honour to represent a club with such great values at the heart of it. I look forward to the seasons ahead – and to once again have the opportunity to feel the energy from the 16th Man in Kingspan Stadium as soon as that is possible.”

McFarland added: “Kieran has really bought into the team culture since joining us in 2016. He brings a lot of athleticism, to both his set-piece and loose play, and is still a young player. I’m very pleased Kieran is going to be a part of our growth over the next two years.”

Andrew Warwick, a Ballymena native, will continue to bring his combative nature and technical excellence to the squad in the years ahead. Since he made his senior Ulster debut against Cardiff Blues in 2014, Warwick has racked-up 128 appearances for the province – including most recently when he played an important role in this season’s Guinness PRO14 Inter-provincial fixtures. Of his future with the club, Warwick, said:

“I’m delighted to have extended my contract with Ulster – it’s always a privilege to represent my home province. I look forward to continuing to do my part to help the team be successful, and the coaches have created a great environment to keep improving as a player. It’s a really exciting time to be a part of this team.”

McFarland added: “Andrew is an important member of our squad as he demonstrated most recently against Connacht and Munster during the festive Inter-pros. A quality scrummager and hard worker in the loose, Andrew adds a lot of experience and technical excellence to our team.”

Completing today’s line-up is 19-year-old scrum-half, Nathan Doak, from Lisburn who made his senior debut against Munster in December – 11 years to the day since he ran out as a mascot against the same opposition.

The youngster played an important role in getting Wallace High School into the Danske Bank Schools’ Cup Final in 2020, before the onset of COVID-19 resulted in the cancellation of the match. Doak has also made his presence felt in the recent Ulster ‘A’ games, with an impressive unbeaten run for the province this season, including most recently a home victory over Leinster ‘A’.

Commenting on his deal, which will see Doak spend one year as a Development player before being upgraded to a Senior Professional contract for the following season, he said:

“I am delighted to have signed a new contract with Ulster Rugby to extend my time with the club for a further two years. I am looking forward to working with the Senior team full-time, and to develop further as a player. It is an exciting time for the province as we are building on our ambitions to win silverware, and I hope I can be a part of that moving forward.”

Commenting on the last signing to be announced today, Dan McFarland, concluded: “Although Nathan is not long out of school, he has already played for over a year with Ulster ‘A’ – a team that reached the Celtic Cup final in 2019 – and this has held him in good stead for this season’s ‘A’ Inter-pros. We are looking forward to continuing to support Nathan’s development over the next 2 years.”

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6 Nations

Wales & Cardiff star to retire at 27

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Cardiff Rugby fullback Hallam Amos will retire at the end of the season to focus on a career in medicine.

The 27-year-old joined Cardiff ahead of the 2019-20 season having previously come through the ranks at the Dragons, where he spent nine years.

He recently completed his clinical medical exams and has informed the club and Welsh Rugby Union of his intention to hang up his boots in June.

Amos said: “After a decade of professional rugby, the 2021/22 season will be my last. I’ve experienced a lot in rugby and have been fortunate to go to two Rugby World Cups, a Commonwealth Games, several Six Nations and I’ve had a lot of great times in the regional game.

“I’m very grateful for the incredible experiences I’ve had but the time has almost come to face a new challenge. I am happy with what I have achieved and telling Dai and Cardiff, and Wayne (Pivac) and Wales, early so they can plan for the future sat a lot easier with me.

“It’s always been my intention to finish when I complete my degree and this season aligns nicely with the final year of my medical studies, so a perfect time to transition from pitch to hospital.

“Throughout my years combining university with a rugby career I’ve had plenty of support – from the WRU, from the Dragons for the first few years of my career, from Cardiff Rugby more recently, and from Cardiff University itself – and I’ll always be thankful for their willingness to accommodate both aspects of my life.

“Particular thanks go to Dai and Wayne who have been understanding over the last couple of weeks as I’ve talked to them about the thought process behind my decision.

“Retiring at 27 will definitely be strange but I’m fully committed to Cardiff Rugby for the rest of the season and hopefully I can finish on a high over the next few months.”

The full-back has made 32 appearances since joining the Blue and Blacks and has taken his tally of international caps to 25.

Cardiff Director of Rugby, Dai Young has led the tributes to the Cardiff medical student and commended his decision to retire on his own terms and with a clear education and plan for the future.

Young said: “Obviously it will be disappointing to lose a player of Hallam’s quality and he has plenty of rugby left in him but you can only admire his decision.

“Not many players get to go out on their own terms and to switch from rugby to a full-time career in medicine sets him up for a long and fruitful career.

“Hallam has worked incredibly hard to juggle rugby and his studies up until now and has achieved a huge amount in the game both at regional and international level.

“He will remain an important figure for us for the remainder of the season and can play without the pressure of the decision hanging over him. For now, the focus is on Cardiff and enjoying his rugby and next summer we will wish him all the very best for the future.”

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Premiership

Wasps sign Munster & Edinburgh players short-term loan deals

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Wasps are delighted to announce that Alex McHenry and Patrick Harrison have joined the Club on short-term deals from United Rugby Championship sides Munster Rugby and Edinburgh Rugby respectively.  

McHenry, a 24-year-old centre, will provide cover for Malakai Fekitoa while he is out with a shoulder injury, while Harrison will provide vital cover at hooker with Gabriel Oghre unavailable.

The 6ft 2in Irishman McHenry, came through the Munster Academy and was capped by Ireland U20 in 2017. McHenry also featured for the Ireland 7s side during the following season. The Christian Brothers College product captained Munster U19s in 2015.

19-year-old Harrison, made his Edinburgh debut against Dragons at the Principality Stadium in March 2020 at the age of 18, becoming the youngest hooker in the club’s history.

That day, he also became the third youngest debutant in PRO14 history – and Edinburgh’s fourth youngest debutant of all time. Harrison made his first start for the Scottish side in the Guinness PRO14 Rainbow Cup clash against Ulster in June 2021.

Wasps Men’s Head Coach Lee Blackett said: “We are delighted to bring Alex and Paddy on board. They will provide vital cover for us, while we are without a number of first team squad players.”  

McHenry added: “I am delighted to get the opportunity to play in the Gallagher Premiership.

“Wasps play a great brand of rugby and I’m looking forward to playing my part in that.”

Harrison said: “I am excited to come down and play some rugby in the English Premiership.

“Wasps are a famous Club, and it is an honour to have joined them.”

Tickets are available for our next Gallagher Premiership home games online by clicking here or by calling the Wasps Ticket Office on 02476 786 411.

Source – Wasps Rugby

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URC

Ulster name team to face Emirate Lions

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Photo by Andrew Surma/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The Ulster coaching team has named the match-day squad to face Emirates Lions at Kingspan Stadium tomorrow evening (7.35pm kick-off), in what will be the first ever meeting between the two sides.

Tickets for the game, priced from £25 for adults and £15 for juniors, are still available at ulsterrugby.com/buytickets.

The starting XV is unchanged to the side that defeated Benetton last Friday evening. Will Addison is selected at full-back alongside Ethan McIlroy and Craig Gilroy on the wings. Stewart Moore and James Hume form the centre partnership. Nathan Doak and Billy Burns are named as the starting half-backs.

Andrew Warwick is named in the front row at loosehead with Ulster’s latest double-centurion, Rob Herring at hooker and Tom O’Toole at tighthead prop. Sam Carter will again lead the side, and is paired with Alan O’Connor in the engine room. Matty Rea is retained at blindside, with Nick Timoney at openside and David McCann is named at Number Eight.

Kieran Treadwell makes his return from injury to the forward replacements alongside Brad Roberts, Eric O’Sullivan, Ross Kane and Sean Reidy. Mike Lowry could make his 50th appearance for the province if called upon from the bench. The other back line replacements are David Shanahan and Ben Moxham.

Ulster team to play Emirates Lions, United Rugby Championship Round 4, Friday 15 October at Kingspan Stadium, 7.35pm kick-off, live on BBC Two NI / RTÉ / Premier Sports:

(15-9) Will Addison, Craig Gilroy, James Hume, Stewart Moore, Ethan McIlroy, Billy Burns, Nathan Doak;

(1-8) Andrew Warwick, Rob Herring, Tom O’Toole, Alan O’Connor, Sam Carter (Capt.), Matty Rea, Nick Timoney, David McCann.

Replacements: Brad Roberts, Eric O’Sullivan, Ross Kane, Kieran Treadwell, Sean Reidy, David Shanahan, Mike Lowry, Ben Moxham.

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