Rodney Ah You to join Ulster

Rodney Ah You

Rodney Ah You will join Ulster for the 2016/17 season

Ulster have announced that Irish international tighthead prop Rodney Ah You will join the province on a two-year deal.

27-year old Ah You will join from fellow Irish province Connacht from the start of next season and will compete with Wiehahn Herbst and Ricky Lutton for a starting place in Ulster’s front row.

Ah You can also operate on the loosehead side of the scrum, giving Ulster Director of Rugby Les Kiss more options in his front row.

The big ball carrying front row was capped for New Zealand at U19 and U20 level having graduated from Christchurch Boys’ High School and won the IRB Junior World Championship with the Baby Blacks in 2007 and 2008.

He then went on to feature for Canterbury in New Zealand’s National Provincial Championship before Connacht snatched him up on a project deal in 2010.

Having become Irish qualified in October 2013, Ah You went on to make his international debut for Ireland in June 2014 against Argentina and made further appearances against Georgia and the Springboks in November.

“I’m really excited about the challenges that lie ahead with Ulster,” Ah You said about his move. “They are a side with big ambitions and are capable of winning silverware in the very near future.

“I feel that the environment at Ulster will allow me to reach my potential and help me to realise my ambitions in the game. With so many players pushing one another for starting places, it will hopefully spur me on to a new level.

“I feel, at 27, that my best years are ahead of me and I want to push hard for more international recognition too. With the support of my family, I’m looking forward to making Belfast our new home.”

Les Kiss also commented on the move, saying, “We are delighted that Rodney has decided to commit to Ulster as he will add real strength to our front row department.

“As a 27-year-old prop, there is still room for him to develop and as a coaching group we will endeavour to get the very best out of Rodney.

“As a squad, when you are competing on a number of fronts, it is essential to have depth across all areas to sustain high performance levels throughout the season. It has been pleasing to see that depth develop in recent months, particularly with the emergence of Kyle McCall at loosehead, and this will further enhance our front row resources.”

Operations Director Bryn Cunningham also added, “Rodney is an exciting addition to the Ulster squad for next season. His dynamism and ball-carrying ability in the loose will add an extra dimension to our play and gives us another option for the increasingly high demands of professional rugby.”