Ulster have confirmed the signing of Kiwi utility back Matt Faddes.
The 27-year-old plays his rugby with the Highlanders in Super Rugby and Otago in the Mitre10 Cup.
The Balclutha native made his debut for Otago in 2011 and he earned himself a spot in the New Zealand 7s squad in 2013 where he played in three tournaments.
His impressive form at provincial rugby level saw him signed by the Highlanders in Super Rugby in 2016 where he scored 10 tries in 16 games and won Rookie of the Year. This also saw him finish as the competition’s joint second top try scorer.
Faddes, who can play across the backline, said he was excited by the switch to Ulster:
“Both Georgie and I are looking forward to the experience of living and working in a new environment and the challenge that will provide. It’s exciting to consider the next chapter of my rugby career. When I visited in 2016, I was struck by the family, community feel to the club.”
Commenting on Faddes’ arrival, Ulster Head Coach Dan McFarland said:
“Matt is a quality player who will bring a lot of experience, skill and creativity to our backline. He’s quick and has shown throughout his career the ability to beat defenders with his footwork and acceleration. His versatility will also be very important for us, meaning he is able to play various positions alongside our talented young backs.
“Matt is excited about moving over to Ireland and with his undoubted ability and strong worth ethic, I’m sure he’ll add a significant amount to our squad.”
This news follows the recent announcements that British & Irish Lions prop Jack McGrath, Australia second row Sam Carter and Irish-qualified prop Gareth Milasinovich will move to Ulster next season.
“Jonny [Petrie], Bryn [Cunningham] and I feel that this year’s recruitment process has been very productive and it’s encouraging that we are able to continue to attract players of this calibre to Ulster,” added McFarland.
“The new arrivals will bolster our squad depth for next season and increase competition for places in key areas. This, coupled with the experience gained by so many of our young players this season, bodes well for us moving forward.”