Williams on way to Ulster
New Ulster coach Mark Anscombe is bringing fellow New Zealander, and former Munster No 8, Nick Williams back to Ireland.
The muscular back-row joined Munster ahead of the 2008/09 campaign, but had a disappointing spell with the province, during which he failed to establish himself, despite scoring a hat-trick of tries against the Dragons in '09.
However, he then became one of the top players in Italy when parading his skills with the now defunct Aironi franchise.
The 28-year-old is a direct replacement for the popular South African Pedrie Wannenburg, who has moved to French side Castres.
Williams, a Junior All Black player, made 37 appearances for the Bulls in Super Rugby during a four-year spell there and also played for North Harbour under Anscombe in the Air New Zealand Cup.
Ulster's director of rugby David Humphreys believes Williams will prove to be a big hit at Ravenhill.
"Nick Williams was a standout player during his time at Aironi and he will add a great deal to our squad," said Humphreys yesterday.
"His addition means there will be real depth right across the back-row and this is vital, given that Stephen Ferris is under an IRFU Player Management Programme.
"Mark (Anscombe) brought him out of club rugby in New Zealand and believes he can make a huge impact here at Ulster," added Humphreys.
The beaten Heineken Cup finalists have also signed former Academy graduate and Ireland
U-20 scrum-half Michael Heaney from Doncaster on a four-month short-term loan.
And they have also brought in 22-year-old Australian-born, but Irish-qualified, back-row forward Sean Doyle, who played for Southern Districts, a Sydney club side.