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John Cooney and Will Addison sign new Ulster Rugby contracts as new signing from Saracens confirmed


John Cooney is staying at Ulster. INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

John Cooney is staying at Ulster. INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

©INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

John Cooney is staying at Ulster. INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

Ireland internationals John Cooney and Will Addison have signed new contracts at Ulster Rugby while the province have announced a new signing from Saracens.

Sean Reffell will move to Ravenhill in the summer to join up with the squad, in which both Cooney and Addison will be remaining, although the length of their extensions has not been confirmed.

There had been much speculation over Cooney’s future with the half-back’s contract due to expire in the summer and his Ireland career seemingly in the past. With international honours possibly now off the radar, there had been rumours of a potential switch to France but now fans will be relieved by the news that the 31-year-old has extended his stay.

“John is a valued member of our squad, who continues to play a central role in the team, both on and off the field," said head coach Dan McFarland. “It is great that he has bought into our ambitions for the future, and his experience and skills will play an important role in helping us to achieve those.”

Addison has made only 26 appearances since joining the province from Sale Sharks in 2018 due to a series of injuries but there’s little down that, when fit, the 29-year-old utility back is a huge asset to both Ulster and Ireland.

“I am also delighted that Will is remaining with us, and I look forward to seeing him back out on the field soon,” added McFarland. “Will has been extremely unlucky with injury recently, but with his play-making abilities and versatility, he is set to continue to make an impact for Ulster in the time ahead.”

New signing Reffell is a 23-year-old Irish-qualified back row. He was awarded Saracens’ Young Player of the Season award for 2020/21 and holds the club’s record for most tackles in a game, with 39 tackles made in the Premiership Rugby Cup semi-final versus Worcester in 2019.

Known for his impressive work-rate, the former England U20s openside has made close to 40 appearances for his current club since a debut in the Anglo-Welsh Cup in November 2017.

“We are looking forward to welcoming Sean to the province next summer,” said McFarland. “With an already impressive track-record for Saracens, he will be a great fit alongside some real quality in our back row, and I am confident he will be a valuable addition to our squad.”

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