Tuesday 28 February 2017

Springbok lock Muller set to sign for Ulster

David Kelly

David Kelly

Ulster are on the verge of signing South African lock Johann Muller, capped 25 times for the Springboks, latterly against the Lions last summer, WRITES DAVID KELLY.

However, Ulster's hopes of signing Dwayne Peel as a replacement for Leinster-bound Isaac Boss evaporated last night with the news that the Welshman has signed a two-year deal with Sale Sharks.

Ulster are also looking into the possibility of signing former All Black Xavier Rush, the current No 8 with Cardiff Blues, whose future with the Welsh club remains in doubt. Rush has not yet signed a new deal with the Blues, but money could be a stumbling block.

Ulster are also believed to be in the running for Scottish scrum-half Mike Blair as they prepare to off-load Irish international Boss.

A possible target for the base of the scrum, former Ulster favourite Roger Wilson, yesterday signed a new deal with Munster's Heineken Cup opponents Northampton Saints.

"I'm really settled here and enjoying my rugby," said Wilson, capped by Ireland, but overlooked since a controversial head-butt in a Churchill Cup game three summers ago.

"It's great to be part of a club with ambition and high work ethic. The improvements have been remarkable over the two years I've been here.

"I came to Northampton because I thought we could compete in big competitions, and we are. I've got lots of respect for the coaches -- for the time and effort they put in.

"We have a young squad with quality players who work hard and if we keep improving at the same rate we have been there's no reason why we can't become one of the top teams in Europe," added the 28-year-old, who has scored four tries in his 45 appearances and has been a consistent performer at No 8 since joining from Ulster in 2008.

"Roger's qualities are apparent every time he plays," said Northampton director of rugby Jim Mallinder.

"He provides a focus for the players around him, being in the right place at the right time. He has a good relationship with the other back-rowers and scrum-halves, and brings confidence to the team.

"At 28 he is in his prime and everyone at the club is delighted that he's staying with us."

Elsewhere, Munster are keen on linking up with Leicester's Johne Murphy, out of contract this summer, as All Black Doug Howlett is believed to be heading back to his native country.

Irish Independent

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