Ulster announce signing of Ireland prop Jack McGrath from Leinster
As exclusively revealed in today's Belfast Telegraph, Ulster have announced the signing of Ireland and British and Irish Lions loosehead prop Jack McGrath from Leinster.
The 29-year-old has agreed to move to Kingspan Stadium from the start of the 2019/20 season on an IRFU centrally contracted deal, meaning Ulster will not have to pay his wages.
It's another massive coup for Ulster as they prepare for next season, with the signing of McGrath a massive statement of intent going forward.
The Lions prop, who went on the 2017 tour to New Zealand, has made 54 appearances for Ireland since making his debut in 2013 and is a three-time Six Nations champion with his nation.
He has also been highly successful for Leinster as well, for whom he has won over 140 caps as well as winning three European Cups, a Challenge Cup and three league titles.
Although he has fallen down the pecking order with both Ireland and Leinster - he didn't feature in their quarter-final with Ulster at the weekend - McGrath is still a powerful operator at loosehead with plenty of experience.
He will come into the squad next season and battle for game time with the highly promising Eric O'Sullivan, who has been exceptional for the northern province during their resurgence this year.
McGrath adds to a long list of former Leinster players in the Ulster squad, joining O'Sullivan, Marty Moore, Alan O'Connor, Jordi Murphy, Nick Timoney and John Cooney as those to make the switch up the M1.
"This was a difficult decision but one I believe will put me in the best position to continue to perform at the top end of the game," commented McGrath on his move.
"I have enjoyed a huge amount of success at Leinster, but I feel that looking beyond the World Cup to the next phase of my career, I will benefit from the opportunity within the Ulster environment.
"I am now fully fit after a disrupted start to the season and I’m looking forward to putting all my energy into helping Leinster’s drive to defend the European and PRO14 titles and finishing this season on a high."
Ulster head coach Dan McFarland added: "We are delighted to be welcoming Jack on board next season, and it is hugely encouraging to see a player of his calibre express the desire to join us.
"Jack’s quality on the field is undoubtable, and his experience of playing at the highest level will be a hugely valuable asset to the club as we continue to develop a promising group of young forwards."
Belfast Telegraph Digital