Ulster have announced that experienced Super Rugby back Matt Faddes will join the club next season from long-time franchise the Highlanders.
Faddes has represented his home province Otago since 2011 and is currently playing for the Highlanders, with whom he has scored 19 tries in 43 Super Rugby appearances. That includes 10 tries in the 2016 campaign, in which he finished as the competition’s joint second top try scorer.
The 27-year-old can play across the backline and also has international experience, having represented New Zealand at 7s level. He is no stranger to Belfast, as he scored for the Barbarians against Fiji at Kingspan Stadium in November 2016.
Faddes revealed he was excited by the switch to Ulster, saying: “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.
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“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.”