Sunday 28 May 2017

Ulster in bid to sign an All Black World Cup winner

Les Kiss has his eyes on Victor Vito

Victor Vito after scoring the first try for New Zealand
Victor Vito after scoring the first try for New Zealand
Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ulster are in the market for a high-class No. 8 to replace Nick Williams at the end of the season and new director of rugby Less Kiss could swoop for double World Cup winning All Black Victor Vito.

The Hurricanes back-row has yet to pen a new deal with the NZRU amid speculation he could seek a lucrative move abroad and the northern province are ready and waiting to bring him to Belfast.

Vito was involved in New Zealand's 2011 triumph, coming off the bench in the semi-final, while he was involved as a replacement throughout their campaign as they went back-to-back and came on for Richie McCaw in the closing stages of last month's final.

He is being lined up to represent his country in Sevens alongside Sonny Bill Williams and Liam Messam at the Rio Olympics next year, but his future beyond that event remains unclear.

Stade Francais are among the list of suitors ready to move for the 28-year-old, but Ulster are expected to make a strong play to link him up with fellow All Black Charles Piutau, who will arrive at Kingspan Stadium after his season with Wasps.

It is understood that Ulster have the finance in place to make the move and, while the IRFU would need to sign off on any deal, they would likely see the value in a marquee signing like Vito (pictured).

Meanwhile, Bath have signed Scotland back-row forward David Denton from Edinburgh, in a deal to offset the loss of Sam Burgess. Denton should link up with Bath later this week, following completion of a medical.

Irish Independent

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