Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 29 August 2015

Diack has potential to be Ulster star: Solly

By Gavin Mairs

Published 25/04/2008

Young Western Stormers No 8 Robbie Diack has the potential to make a big impact at Ulster next season, according to former Ravenhill and Newlands boss Alan Solomons.

The Belfast Telegraph understands that Diack will be joined by Springboks and Natal Sharks prop BJ Botha and Queensland Reds full-back Clinton Schifcofske and lock Ed O'Donoghue at Ravenhill next season as Ulster coach Matt Williams puts his stamp on his new squad.

The signings won't be officially confirmed until possibly next week because the Super 14 tournament is reaching the business end but all four will be at Ravenhill next season.

Botha is already a proven international star, having played for South Africa 16 times and is a World Cup winner while Schifcofske is a former rugby league star with Canberra Raiders and the Queensland State of Origin team before he switched codes with the Reds two years ago.

But Solomons, a former Western Stormers coach, believes that 22-year-old Diack, who has had his first team opportunities limited at Newlands because of the formidable back row of Schalk Burger, Francois Louw and Luke Watson, could also flourish at Ravenhill.

"Robbie is an excellent prospect," said Solomons, also a former South Africa assistant coach. "He is a big, strong boy and a good ball carrier and I think he has the potential to do well with Ulster in the back row.

"He played a lot for Western Province in the Currie Cup and although his first team opportunities have been limited with the Stormers this year, you have to appreciate there is so much talent in South Africa."

As Diack has not represented South Africa or South Africa A, he could qualify for Ireland in three years time under residency rules, when he will be just 25.

Ulster are still in the hunt for a top class winger, a squad scrum-half and possibly another squad back five player.

The hunt for the wing, to fill the massive hole left by the departure of Tommy Bowe, is not likely to be filled before June.

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