Connacht prop Rodney Ah You has agreed to join Ulster next season
The 27-year-old Ireland tighthead won the Junior World Championship with New Zealand in 2008
Ah You qualified to play for Ireland in 2013 and made his Irish debut the following year
Ulster have confirmed that Ireland international prop Rodney Ah You will join the province for the 2016/2017 campaign from rivals Connacht.
The 27-year-old Ireland international has made over 100 appearances since joining Connacht in 2010, when he joined them after playing for Canterbury in New Zealand’s National Provincial Championship.
Ah You will now battle it out with Wiehahn Herbst for the tighthead jersey next season.
He told Ulster’s official website: “I’m really excited about the challenges that lie ahead with Ulster. 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.
“I want to thank Connacht massively for all the support they have given to me and my family over the past five years. It’s a fantastic club that is currently competing really strongly in the PRO12 and Europe. I hope they continue to grow and wish them well for the future.”
Ulster’s director of rugby Les Kiss said: “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.”
Connacht head coach Pat Lam has accepted Ah You’s decision and wished him well for the future.
He said: “We’d like to wish Rodney and his family all the best in Belfast and with Ulster.
“While disappointed not to have him playing as part of the Connacht squad next year, we respect the player’s individual decision. I know Rodders wants to do everything he can for the remainder of the season to help the team and his team-mates achieve our goals.”