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Back row Robbie Diack latest to leave Ulster Rugby

By Adam McKendry

Long-serving Ulster flanker Robbie Diack has announced he will be leaving the province at the end of the season in a passionate statement on Twitter.

The South African-born back row joined the Kingspan Stadium outfit in 2008 from the Stormers at the age of just 22, and has decided the time is right to head back to his native South Africa.

"Representing Ulster over the last ten years has meant more to my family than we ever could have imagined," Diack wrote in his statement. "Playing for such a proud province and team with such an incredible support base will be extremely difficult to part with.

"I feel hugely fortunate to have had the opportunity to be part of the Ulster family over the last decade and will be forever grateful for the unwavering support we have received.

"Having the honour of wearing an Irish jersey is something that I'll always cherish.

"While I arrived 10 years ago as a South African, I leave as a proud Ulsterman! Thank you to all my team mates, management and supporters for all you have done for us over the last ten years."

Having joined on a three-year deal initially, Diack qualified for Ireland on residency grounds in 2011 and went on to make two appearances for the national side in 2014.

He became the first foreign player to make more than 200 appearances for the province in October 2017 and is currently Ulster's sixth most-capped player having earned 205 caps in the white jersey.

"Since the moment he arrived, Robbie embraced everything that the province stands for," Ulster's Operations Director Bryn Cunningham commented.

"He quickly established himself as an important member of the Ulster squad, and to have played so many games for the Province is testament to his quality, consistency and versatility.

"Robbie has been an outstanding servant to Ulster Rugby and will be missed by staff, players and fans alike. He has been an absolute pleasure to work alongside and we wish him, Kirsty and Fletcher well on their return to South Africa."

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