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Published: 14:53 | 18/1/16

Rodney Ah You to join Ulster from Connacht

Tighthead will move to Ravenhill in the summer

Ireland international tighthead prop Rodney Ah You is to join Ulster from Connacht.

The 27-year-old, who can also operate on the other side of the scrum, joined Connacht in 2010 and will remain with Pat Lam’s men for the remainder of the season, before moving to Ulster.

Having previously represented New Zealand at U20 level, Ah You qualified for Ireland on residency terms in 2013 and won the first of his three caps on the tour of Argentina in 2014.

The New Zealand native is confident that it is the right time to leave Connacht and he is hopeful that the move to Ravenhill will help his international ambitions.

"I'm really excited about the challenges that lie ahead with Ulster. They are a side with big ambitions and are capable of winning silverware in the very near future,” said the tighthead.

"I feel that the environment at Ulster will allow me to reach my potential"

"I feel that the environment at Ulster will allow me to reach my potential and help me to realise my ambitions in the game. With so many players pushing one another for starting places, it will hopefully spur me on to a new level.

"I feel, at 27, that my best years are ahead of me and I want to push hard for more international recognition too. With the support of my family, I'm looking forward to making Belfast our new home.

"I want to thank Connacht massively for all the support they have given to me and my family over the past five years.

"It's a fantastic club that is currently competing really strongly in the PRO12 and Europe. I hope they continue to grow and wish them well for the future."

Ulster boss Les Kiss was equally as delighted with the news of Ah You’s imminent arrival.

“We are delighted that Rodney has decided to commit to Ulster as he will add real strength to our front row department,” said Kiss.

“As a 27-year-old prop, there is still room for him to develop and as a coaching group we will endeavour to get the very best out of Rodney.

“As a squad, when you are competing on a number of fronts, it is essential to have depth across all areas to sustain high performance levels throughout the season. It has been pleasing to see that depth develop in recent months, particularly with the emergence of Kyle McCall at loosehead, and this will further enhance our front row resources.”

Connacht, meanwhile, expressed their disappointment with the loss of Ah You, but head coach Pat Lam wished him well for the future.

"We'd like to wish Rodney and his family all the best in Belfast and with Ulster.

"While disappointed not to have him playing as part of the Connacht squad next year, we respect the player's individual decision. I know Rodders wants to do everything he can for the remainder of the season to help the team and his team mates achieve our goals.”

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