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David Humphreys signing to the last

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Ulster's departing director of rugby David Humphreys

Ulster's departing director of rugby David Humphreys

Ulster's departing director of rugby David Humphreys

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."

Belfast Telegraph