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Ulster turn heads with ‘significant’ addition from Highlanders

Ulster have signed Matt Faddes

Ulster director of rugby Dan McFarland continues add strength to his squad for the new season with the signing of versatile back Matt Faddes from the Highlanders.

Faddes, 27, will join fellow new recruits Jack McGrath, Sam Carter and Gareth Milasinovich at the Kingspan Stadium ahead of the 2019-20 season.

Capable of playing outside centre, wing of full-back, the former New Zealand Sevens player has displayed a finishing touch for the Highlanders with 19 tries in 43 appearances in Super Rugby.

“Matt is a quality player who will bring a lot of experience, skill and creativity to our backline,” Ulster mastermind McFarland said.

“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 work ethic, I’m sure he’ll add a significant amount to our squad.

“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.

“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.”

Faddes was a member of the Barbarians squad which beat Fiji 40-7 in November 2016, and revealed his brief stay in Belfast had left him with a good impression of what life awaits him when he becomes an Ulster player.

“Both Georgie (his wife) 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.”

Ulster travel to Scotstoun to face Glasgow Warriors in a PRO14 semi-final on Friday, in what could be Rory Best’s last match for the province.

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