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Ulster confirm signing of new Out-Half.

Another intro-provincial transfer.

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Photo By Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile via Getty Images
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Ulster Rugby today confirmed that out-half Bill Johnston will move to the Province this summer from Munster.

A Tipperary native, Johnston won the Clayton Hotels Munster Schools Senior Cup with Rockwell College in 2015.

Johnston was a pivotal member of the Ireland side that reached the 2016 U20 World Championship Final, scoring 11 points in the comeback victory over Wales and another 10 in the historic win over New Zealand.

The 22-year-old playmaker made his Munster debut in March 2017 and has made 12 senior appearances, scoring 29 points.

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Johnston said he’s looking forward to linking up with his new colleagues:

“I’m an ambitious player and this is a great opportunity for me to test myself in an exciting new environment and develop my game under Dan [McFarland] and the other coaches.

“Ulster has a talented young squad that is hungry for success and it’s an organisation that’s clearly moving in the right direction. That’s something I really want to be part of and I can’t wait to make the move to Belfast and get stuck into pre-season training.”

McFarland commented:

“Bill is a very exciting young prospect who, for a number of reasons, has had limited playing opportunities over the past couple of years. He obviously feels now is the right time for a new challenge in his career and he will bring enthusiasm and unquestionable talent to our squad. We’re confident that he’ll be a really good addition.”

It has been rumoured that Johnny McPhillips could be released from his current Ulster deal with a year still left on his contract.

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Ulster make changes for Ospreys clash

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Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

Craig Gilroy is set to become the eighth Ulster man to make 200 appearances for the province if called upon on Saturday, as he is named among the replacements in the match-day squad to face Ospreys on Saturday (3pm kick-off).

Mike Lowry has been selected at full-back, with Ethan McIlroy on the left wing and Robert Baloucoune on the right. Stuart McCloskey and Angus Curtis will form the midfield pairing. John Cooney and Billy Burns have been named scrum-half and out-half respectively.

Brad Roberts will come in to start at hooker, with Eric O’Sullivan and Tom O’Toole either side of him in the front row. Alan O’Connor will captain the team and is named in the second row with Kieran Treadwell. Sean Reidy comes in to start at blindside, with Nick Timoney at openside and David McCann completing the base of the pack.

Jack McGrath makes his return to the Ulster side after recovering from injury and is named among the replacements. Although named on the bench last week versus Leinster, Tom Stewart wasn’t called upon, so could make his senior debut on Saturday as he is selected again in the replacements with fellow forwards, Marty Moore, Mick Kearney and Marcus Rea. Nathan Doak, Stewart Moore and potential double-centurion, Craig Gilroy will provide the back line cover.

Ulster team to play Ospreys, United Rugby Championship Round 7, Saturday 4 December at Swansea.com Stadium, 3pm kick-off, live Premier Sports and URC TV:

(15-9) Mike Lowry, Robert Baloucoune, Angus Curtis, Stuart McCloskey, Ethan McIlroy, Billy Burns, John Cooney;

(1-8) Eric O’Sullivan, Brad Roberts, Tom O’Toole, Kieran Treadwell, Alan O’Connor (Capt.), Sean Reidy, Nick Timoney, David McCann.

Replacements: Tom Stewart, Jack McGrath, Marty Moore, Mick Kearney, Marcus Rea, Nathan Doak, Stewart Moore, Craig Gilroy.

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Du Preez to join Glasgow Warriors

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(Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

South African second-rower JP du Preez has become the first new signing announced by Glasgow Warriors ahead of the 2022/23 season, after agreeing to make the move north from Sale Sharks at the end of the current campaign subject to visa.

Standing at 6’10”, the du Preez became the tallest player to have ever played a Super Rugby match when he made his competitive debut for the Emirates Lions back in 2015.

The man from Roodeport joined Sale Sharks in November 2020, making 18 appearances for the English Premiership side to date.

A physical presence with ball in hand, he has also proven a menace for Premiership lineouts; currently the second-rower sits joint-fourth in the table for lineout steals, as well as providing Sale with a platform from which to launch their attack.

Prior to his switch to Sale, du Preez made 31 appearances for the Cheetahs in the Guinness PRO14 between 2018 and 2020.

Indeed, the newest Warrior has previous experience of playing in front of the Scotstoun faithful, having come off the bench for the final five minutes of Glasgow’s 35-17 victory over the Cheetahs in 2019.

Source – Glasgow Rugby

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Munster Rugby Travel Update

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In a hugely positive development the wider Munster touring party departed Cape Town tonight after a group of 34 players and staff received negative results on completing a fourth round of PCR testing in six days.

Team management worked tirelessly on securing scheduled flights at short notice and the group are expected to land in Dublin on Wednesday evening.

Another four positive cases were identified in Tuesday’s round of PCR testing and a total group of 14 will see out their respective isolation periods at the designated quarantine hotel in Cape Town.

This is a difficult time for all players and staff involved and we are very mindful of their wellbeing and the understandable concern from family and friends at home. The group will be well looked after with team liaisons Warren Morris and Kubaan Lorens remaining on site with medical support provided daily.

As outlined by the government earlier this week, on arrival from South Africa the returning players and staff will follow mandatory self-isolation at their own locations.

Munster Rugby would like to say a huge thank you to the management and staff at Southern Sun The Cullinan Hotel for all their help and efforts over the last few days, especially at a time when last-minute support and requirements were needed for a large group.  The contribution Warren and Kubaan made during this time cannot be overstated and we are indebted to the duo for their professionalism and support.

Again, we wish to take this opportunity to thank the Irish government, the IRFU, South Africa Rugby, URC, and the health authorities for their assistance in particular with regards to facilitating the safe return of our staff and players.

Source – Munster Rugby

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