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Sensational Piutau will make Ulster great again, insists hero Ringland

By Jonathan Bradley

Published 29/08/2016

Charles Piutau
Charles Piutau

Trevor Ringland has backed new boy Charles Piutau to catapult Ulster to European glory.

The Kiwi full-back, who sparkled in his side's pre-season win over Northampton Saints last week, will make his competitive debut for the province on Friday when their PRO12 campaign kicks-off against Dragons.

Ulster legend Ringland feels the 24-year-old can help Les Kiss' men earn a cherished place among Europe's elite.

"It wasn't that long ago that you had Ulster, Munster and Leinster all competing for the top honours in Europe," said former British and Irish Lion Ringland.

"Piutau is the type of player you need to get you back there."

He added: "It's exactly what you want to see, someone who is a real game changer.

"Someone like him adds a real excitement and enjoyment for the fans and it's great for the PRO12 in general as well.

"It's been disappointing for Ulster in recent years, coming so close but not winning anything. He's the type of player who could push you over the edge."

Ringland was part of the Ulster sides of the 1980s that swept aside all before them in the interprovincial championship and beat Australia at Ravenhill.

Along with Keith Crossan and Philip Rainey, he formed a devastating back-three but thinks this current crop could be their rival.

Piutau has joined the likes of Irish international quartet Jared Payne, Andrew Trimble, Craig Gilroy and Tommy Bowe at the Kingspan.

"That's what we all want to see from this group," he added.

"The thing with bringing in Piutau is that it gives you such depth when you look at the players already there.

"That competition will make everyone better."

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