All Black Charles Piutau to sign two-year deal with Ulster
Stuart Olding ruled out of the World Cup and needs another knee reconstruction
Charles Piutau of the All Balcks has signed a two year deal with Ulster according to reports in New Zealand. Photo: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images
The 23-year-old utility back - he can play anywhere from 12 to 15 - is the latest established All Black to sign a post World Cup contract with a European club.
The trend, started by the likes of Jerome Kaino and Ma Nonu after 2011 tournament, is essentially a mid-career break from international rugby.
It’s a genuine coup for Ulster and incoming director of rugby Les Kiss as it proves the best southern hemisphere players can still be enticed by Irish provinces, despite the improved television revenue of English and French clubs.
New Zealand media sources are reporting Piutau’s two year contract will earn him NZ$ 1 million or £510,000 (€700,000) a season.
Born in Auckland, Piutau played for Tonga at the 2010 under-20s World Cup before switching allegiance to New Zealand at the 2011 tournament.
A superb Sevens player, he won the first of 14 All Black caps against France in June 2013 but this move takes him out of consideration for the Rio Olympics.
Kiss remains as Ireland defence coach until October 31st when he will move to Belfast to replace David Humphreys, who became Gloucester director of rugby last summer. Neil Doak has been the interim Ulster head coach.
Meanwhile, Ulster have also confirmed that Stuart Olding needs a second right knee reconstruction, ruling him out of Ireland’s World Cup squad. The 22-year-old, who only returned from January’s elbow injury in Friday’s 36-17 defeat of Cardiff, is facing nine months of rehabilitation.