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David Humphreys signing to the last

By Niall Crozier

Ulster's departing director of rugby David Humphreys had secured the signatures of a pair of back row forwards before leaving.

With Ireland and Lions blind-side Stephen Ferris forced into retirement by injury and Irish-qualified open-side Sean Doyle opting to return to his native Australia where he has joined ACT Brumbies, Ulster needed replacements.

The players Humphreys lined up are 23-year-old Charlie Butterworth and 25-year-old Sean Reidy and yesterday Ulster confirmed their signatures.

Wicklow man Butterworth, who was a prominent member of last season's Ulster Bank League Divsion 1A-winning Lansdowne side, has enlisted for one year. Equally comfortable wearing six or seven, this is his first professional contract.

Short-term signing Reidy is a New Zealander who can play anywhere in the back row. The Kiwi joins from Counties Manukau Steelers and is Irish-qualified through his Co Kerry grandfather.

Butterworth said: "I can't wait to get started, it will be brilliant to be involved. Ulster are one of the best teams in Europe, if not the world, at the moment and it was a no-brainer once David Humphreys offered me the contract.

Fellow-newcomer Reidy was no less enthusiastic.

"I had heard a lot about Ulster before I signed," he said. "They are a club with a lot of history and tradition but have done really well in their competitions recently and are a team on the up.

"It's a great opportunity for me to go over, learn from the coaches and try to develop my game."

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