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Ulster Announce Two New Signings

Ulster Announce Two New Signings

Ulster Rugby have announced two new signings to the province’s squad for next season. Full-back-cum-winger Clinton Schifcofske and lock Ed O’Donoghue, both formally of Australian club Queensland Reds, have signed two-year deals with Ulster.

Clinton Schifcofske and Ed O’Donoghue will both link up with the Ulster squad in July for pre-season training.

Queensland native and former rugby league star Schifcofske, who is 32, crossed codes at the end of 2006 – after a ten-year career in rugby league. He signed a two-year contract with rugby union side the Reds.

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He has played two times for Australia ‘A’ in the Pacific Nations Cup and had over ten Super 14 appearances. He will bring a mix of experience, agile footwork, speed off the mark and accurate goal kicking, all of which make him a valuable acquisition for Ulster.

In his first match for Australia ‘A’, the hard running full-back scored a personal tally of 23 points and boasts a kicking success rate of almost 80 per cent.

Speaking about his move to Ulster Rugby, Schifcofske said: “I’m really looking forward to this new and exciting chapter in my life and rugby career. I know the Ulster fans are very passionate and supportive of their team and I’m really looking forward to myself and the team giving them plenty to cheer about.

“I was also delighted to be coming over with my current team-mate here at the Reds, Ed O’Donoghue. Ed has become a good friend of mine and is a terrific young player with loads of potential.

“Both myself and my young family are really excited about the move to a very beautiful part of the world and experiencing a new culture, something that we may have never experienced if it wasn’t for this opportunity with Ulster Rugby.”

The Irish-qualified Ed O’Donoghue is returning to the Northern Hemisphere after a two-year stint with Queensland Reds. Before heading to Australia, O’Donoghue developed a wealth of experience and professional skills over three seasons with Northampton Saints and Worcester Warriors.

The 25-year-old lock was born in London to Irish parents, grew up in Brisbane, Australia, and earned a place in the Australian Under-19 squad. He also played in the Australian Provincial Championship and earned his first Super 14 start in 2007, going on to play all thirteen games in the season.

Talking about his return to the Northern Hemisphere and his signing with Ulster, O’Donoghue remarked: “I’m really happy to be turning out for Ulster and excited about the possibilities of the coming season. I’m delighted the club has given me the chance to be part of the squad and excited about being back in the UK.

“What I’m really looking forward to is catching up with family and friends in Ireland and the UK, and of course, winning lots of rugby matches.

“It’s great that Clinton is moving to Ulster at the same time. I’ll at least have one familiar face on my first training day, but it will be great getting to meet so many new people and develop my skills under the experienced Ulster management.”

The end of the season at Ravenhill saw Justin Harrison, Tommy Bowe, David Humpreys, Neil Best, Roger Wilson, Mark Bartholomeusz and Kieran Campbell all hang up their Ulster jerseys for the last time, which has opened Ulster’s doors for a number of new signings.

Commenting on the new faces at Ravenhill, Ulster coach Matt Williams said: “Clinton is a hugely respected figure in Australian rugby union and rugby league. He’s an experienced captain and leader – essential qualities with our young back-line. Clinton is also a very high percentage goal kicker and a confident Super 14 player.

“Ed is a rare find. An experienced European player currently playing Super 14 and Irish-qualified. He is a great replacement for Justin Harrison at Ravenhill.”