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Springbok Deysel signs up for Ulster's big revival push


On board: Jean Deysel

On board: Jean Deysel

©INPHO/Donall Farmer

On board: Jean Deysel

Ulster have tied up two important bits of business ahead of next season as they look to bounce back from missing the Guinness PRO12 play-offs for the first time since 2012.

The province yesterday announced that former Springbok Jean Deysel has signed on for two years, while the Belfast Telegraph understands Andrew Trimble has also agreed a new contract that will keep him at Kingspan Stadium until 2019.

Deysel, who spent the latter months of last season on loan at rivals Munster, will join from the Sharks after impressing in his short stint at Thomond Park.

The 32-year-old South African, who has appeared in four Tests, will arrive after a move for his compatriot Arno Botha was scuppered by a knee injury.

The flanker figures to add considerable physical presence to the back-row along with a fit-again Marcell Coetzee, who is expected back during pre-season.

Deysel is the latest to arrive in Ulster having previously represented the Sharks.

The Durban-based Super Rugby franchise have nurtured the talents of Johann Muller, Ruan Pienaar, Stefan Terblanche, Marcell Coetzee and Louis Ludik before their arrivals in Belfast.

The Sharks, who let Deysel join Munster after he didn’t feature in their opening Super Rugby games this season, allowed the Free State native to leave despite having one year left on his deal at Kings Park.

“Jean has always been a popular team man and he has made a significant contribution to the Cell C Sharks over the years,” said his Sharks head coach Robert du Preez.

“He will be missed and we wish him and his young family the very best for this new opportunity undertaken.”

While there may be one more addition made to Les Kiss’s coaching staff, Deysel will round out the recruitment of players, with prop Schalk van der Merwe and scrum-half John Cooney also joining the northern province.

It will be an off-season of much change at Kingspan, with Ruan Pienaar, Franco van der Merwe and Roger Wilson having played their last game for Ulster, while the long serving pair of Neil Doak and Allen Clarke have left the coaching ticket.

Operations Manager Bryn Cunningham, who was forced to act swiftly when the move for Botha fell through, believes Deysel will make a big impact.

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“I’m very pleased with this outcome as I think Jean will add real value to our squad both on and off the pitch,” he said.

“We had a sizeable list of potential targets, even at this late stage of the season, but we believed Jean would be the best fit because his attributes are exactly what we need moving forward.

“He is one of the strongest ball carriers in South African rugby and he really relishes the physical side of the game. He is abrasive and confrontational, with the ball and without the ball, as we have witnessed first-hand for Munster.”

With Ulster’s pack having been criticised throughout the side’s recent slump, Cunningham believes it will be a more “robust” unit in the season to come.

“Jean has captained the Sharks a number of times and that leadership ability and added experience will be important for us as we look to nurture some talented young forwards in our pathway,” he added.

“When you add in a fit-again Marcell (Coetzee), Schalk (van der Merwe) arriving to add strength to the front-row competition and guys like Kieran (Treadwell) and Sean (Reidy) continuing to excel, the signs are good for a more robust and dominant forward pack for next season.”

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