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Ulster finally beat Leinster... by signing prop McGrath

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Jack McGrath
Jack McGrath
Jonathan Bradley

By Jonathan Bradley

Ulster's efforts against Leinster in Saturday's heartbreaking European quarter-final loss may have gone unrewarded but they didn't leave Dublin empty handed, having completed a deal for British and Irish Lions loosehead prop Jack McGrath.

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It was revealed last month that the 29-year-old was undecided on his future and weighing up his options. The Belfast Telegraph understands confirmation is imminent that he has opted to join Dan McFarland's fast-improving Ulster squad.

Centrally contracted to the IRFU, the 57-times-capped Irish international fell down the pecking order at the RDS earlier this year having suffered a hip injury, but his native province were still keen to retain his services.

It appears, however, that the threat to his international prospects has driven him north.

After he wasn't selected by Leo Cullen for the Champions Cup pool stage clash with Toulouse back in January, and without enough rugby under his belt, he featured only once for Joe Schmidt during the Six Nations with Cian Healy and Dave Kilcoyne preferred instead.

A player of undoubted quality, the signing represents a considerable coup for Ulster with the added bonus of the player's wages being paid by the IRFU for the 2019-20 campaign.

McGrath will be joining former Leinster team-mates Jordi Murphy and John Cooney at Kingspan Stadium as part of a large number of Dublin natives who have become favourites in Belfast over recent seasons.

Leinster, who utilised unrivalled depth to win a Champions Cup and PRO14 double at the end of last season, also lost Joey Carbery to Munster back in June.

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