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Louis Ludik had signed a contract extension with Ulster Rugby, and could be an Ireland player by next year.
The 29-year-old South African ultility player was expected to leave the Kingspan Stadium this summer to make way for another foreign player, All Blacks back Charles Piutau.
However, Ulster Rugby have managed to convince the Irish Rugby Football Union [IRFU] that Ludik is a "project player" whose eligibility for Ireland in 2017 justifies a contract extension.
“Re-signing Louis Ludik is a fantastic outcome for Ulster Rugby as he provides so much to the province both on and off the field," Ulster's operation manager Bryn Cunningham said.
“As Louis becomes Irish-qualified in the summer of 2017, I want to thank the IRFU and [performance director] David Nucifora for understanding the very clear rationale for allowing us to retain his services.”
Ludik, who has also represented the Lions and the Sharks in Super Rugby and Agen in France, says he feels "blessed" to be staying at Ulster.
"There's a great atmosphere in the squad and the professionalism of the whole organisation is fantastic. I've no doubt that the future is bright here at Ulster and it's something I want to be involved in," Ludik said.