Ulster sign former Munster backrow Williams
Rugby:Ulster continued their busy summer of acquisitions by announcing the arrival of three new players to Ravenhill, including former Munster backrow Nick Williams.The 28-year-old New Zealander joins from now defunct Italian outfit Aironi on a two-year deal and is reunited with new Ulster coach Mark Anscome, whom he played under for North Harbour.
Williams joined Munster ahead of the 2008/09 campaign and helped them secure the Magners League title in his debut season. He then moved to Aironi and his scoring record of 10 tries in 31 league games underlined his importance to them.
Director of Rugby, David Humphreys, believes Williams will prove to be a major success in Belfast.
“Nick was a standout player during his time at Aironi and he will add a great deal to our squad. His addition means there will be real depth right across the backrow and this is vital, given that Stephen Ferris is under an IRFU Player Management Programme.
“Mark Anscombe brought him out of club rugby in New Zealand and believes he can make a huge impact here at Ulster. He is an excellent ball carrier and is a very physical in defence,” added Humphreys.
Ulster’s have also signed scrumhalf Michael Heaney and another backrow forward in Australian-born openside Sean Doyle.
Heaney has rejoined the club from Doncaster Knights on a four month short-term deal, with the opportunity of a full-time contract at the end of that period.
A graduate of the Ulster Academy, Heaney has represented Ulster at all levels and made his senior debut for the province in a pre-season friendly away to Harlequins in August 2010.
He was a member of the Ireland U20 squad that won the 2010 Six Nations Championship and also competed in the IRB Junior World Championships later that year. The 21-year-old joined Doncaster midway through the 2011/12 season after playing his club rugby in Ulster with Belfast Harlequins.
Doyle, who is Irish-qualified, joins from Sydney club side Southern Districts. He has been one of the leading players in the New South Wales Premier Grade over the past four seasons and has also been a strong performer for the NSW ‘A’ representative side.