Ulster snap up Botha

Bok loose forward Arno Botha has signed on to join Ulster on a two-year deal at the conclusion of the 2017 Super Rugby season.

Ulster announced their latest South African coup on Monday, with club director of rugby Les Kiss saying Botha's leadership and physicality will be key attributes for the Irish province over the next couple of seasons.

To date, the 25-year-old has made 46 Super Rugby appearances for the Bulls, and earned two Test caps for the Boks in 2013, but his career has been curtailed by recurring knee injuries.

'He is a serious competitor who is willing to work hard to earn his jersey. I believe he will settle well in our environment and become a huge fan favourite here at Kingspan Stadium,' said Kiss.

'We've been working hard to add quality and depth to our squad for next season, particularly up front, and Arno is a great addition in that respect. Marcell Coetzee is yet to play for us so he will almost be like a new signing too. In the coming weeks, we will announce a further addition to strengthen the forward pack, as well as the retention of some of our high-profile current players,' Kiss added.

Botha will join compatriots Coetzee, Wiehahn Herbst, Franco van der Merwe and Louis Ludik on Ulster's payroll. Ruan Pienaar is also currently playing for the Irish giants, but it has been announced that the scrumhalf will leave the club at the end of the season after a seven-year stint in Belfast.

Photo: Ulster Rugby

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Mariette Adams