Monday 17 December 2018

Ulster dealt a big blow as deal for ex-All Blacks out-half falls through after injury

Stephen Donald on the charge for New Zealand during the 2011 World Cup final. Photo: Phil Walter/Getty Images
Stephen Donald on the charge for New Zealand during the 2011 World Cup final. Photo: Phil Walter/Getty Images

Out-half Stephen Donald will not be joining Ulster for the remainder of the season after picking up an injury during his final game in Japan.

The ex-All Black World Cup-winner had agreed a short-term deal to provide cover at number ten for the rest of the campaign, but the province confirmed today that Donald has been ruled out for over four weeks, and they are no longer proceeding with the signing.

Australian out-half Christian Lealiifano played his last game for Ulster in the 26-7 defeat to Wasps yesterday, which eliminated them from Champions Cup quarter-final contention, having been signed last summer to play for the province until January.

Former Ireland U20 out-half Johnny McPhillips could be pressed into action after appearing off the bench in recent weeks. Ulster have had bad injury luck this season, with Springbok flanker Marcell Coetzee ruled out for the year following a knee injury.

"Unfortunately, Ulster Rugby is not in a position to proceed with the signing of Stephen Donald, after receiving a medical report on the player yesterday," Ulster said in a statement.

"Stephen had agreed a short-term deal to join the Province, but he sustained an injury while representing his club in the final game of the Japanese season, which will rule him out for 4+ weeks.

"The timeline now makes it very difficult to find a suitable replacement, but we will continue to monitor the market."

Online Editors

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport