Ulster confirm signing of Super Rugby star Matt Faddes for new season

Ulster have completed the signing of New Zealand utility back Matt Faddes.

The 27-year-old will join the province from Super Rugby side the Highlanders for the start of next season’s Guinness PRO14 campaign.

He’s the latest to confirm he will join the ever-improving province next season, with Leinster, Ireland and Lions loosehead prop Jack McGrath, Brumbies lock Sam Carter and Worcester prop Gareth Milasinovich also signed up.

Faddes is a versatile back who is equally adept at either outside centre, wing or full-back and will add considerable depth to an already talented area of Ulster’s squad.

Also an experienced operator, the Otago native has played for his home side in the Mitre 10 Cup since 2011 while also representing the Dunedin-based Highlanders.

A prolific try-scorer as well, Faddes has 19 tries in 43 Super Rugby appearances for the Highlanders, including finishing the 2016 season as joint top try scorer with 10.

Although he has never represented the All Blacks, he has played for the New Zealand Sevens team, while he has played at Kingspan Stadium before with the Barbarians against Fiji in November 2016.

Faddes commented on his move to Ulster: “Both Georgie (his wife) and I are looking forward to the experience of living and working in a new environment and the challenge that will provide. It’s exciting to consider the next chapter of my rugby career.

“When I visited in 2016, I was struck by the family, community feel to the club.”

Commenting on Faddes’ arrival, Ulster head coach Dan McFarland added: “Matt is a quality player who will bring a lot of experience, skill and creativity to our backline.

“He’s quick and has shown throughout his career the ability to beat defenders with his footwork and acceleration. His versatility will also be very important for us, meaning he is able to play various positions alongside our talented young backs.

“Matt is excited about moving over to Ireland and with his undoubted ability and strong worth ethic, I’m sure he’ll add a significant amount to our squad.

“Jonny [Petrie], Bryn [Cunningham] and I feel that this year’s recruitment process has been very productive and it’s encouraging that we are able to continue to attract players of this calibre to Ulster.

“The new arrivals will bolster our squad depth for next season and increase competition for places in key areas. This, coupled with the experience gained by so many of our young players this season, bodes well for us moving forward.”

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