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Moore And McDonald Join Connacht From Ulster

Moore And McDonald Join Connacht From Ulster

Michael McDonald toured South Africa with the Emerging Ireland squad earlier in the season ©INPHO/Steve Haag

Connacht Rugby have announced the loan signings of hooker Declan Moore and scrum half Michael McDonald from Ulster.

The pair will join Connacht for the 2023/24 season, linking up with the province at the start of pre-season. Moore heads west following an 18-month spell at Ulster, where he first arrived as injury cover from Munster.

Prior to moving to Ireland, the New Zealand-born 26-year-old was part of the Melbourne Rebels squad in 2020 and played for the Sydney Rays in the 2019 National Rugby Championship.

Moore is Irish-qualified with his grandfather from County Antrim, while he also has roots from Castlerea in County Roscommon.

McDonald was born in Louth before moving to Australia at the age of 13. He came through the ranks at Western Force and was starting scrum half for Australia at the 2019 World Rugby Under-20 Championship, helping them reach the final.

His performances earned him a contract at the Waratahs where he made four Super Rugby appearances in 2020. He then returned to Western Force for two seasons before moving to Ulster last summer.

Connacht head coach Pete Wilkins commented: “Declan and Michael’s arrival next season gives us further depth in two specialist positions. They’re both excellent players who are hungry for an opportunity, and their respective qualities will make them real assets to Connacht Rugby.

“Having four hookers and three scrum halves, coupled with the exciting talent we have emerging through our Academy, gives us excellent competition for places that will further drive the development of our squad.”