Ulster Seek Permission From IRFU To Sign Springbok Star
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Less Kiss is looking to add another Springbok to his Ulster back-row.
The northern province have requested permission to sign Arno Both from the Blue Bulls, despite already having signed another Springbok in the form of Marcell Coetzee during the summer.
Fellow South African Francdo van der Merwe is set to depart for Cardiff this summer, leaving Kiss forced to put Iain Henderson back into his second-row department. Henderson has been deployed regularly at six for the province and once again starts there this weekend against Exeter.
Henderson is one of Ireland’s first choice lock’s at the moment, so bringing in another back-row option, and moving him permanently into the second-row would make more sense for the IRFU.
Given Ireland’s current embarassment of riches in the back-row department, Ulster adding a foreigner in that position certainly wouldn’t have a drastic effect. Moving Henderson permanently to the second-row would also definitely be something Joe Schmidt would like to see.
Botha is a powerful carrier and has also carries leadership credentials from captaining his province at Currie Cup level. He is out of contract in October and sources in South Africa indicate that the Bulls are resigned to losing him.
Ulster have tried to recruit some back-row talent from other provinces but have been unable to convince their targets to move, but Connacht scrum-half John Cooney is understood to have agreed to replace Ruan Pienaar. Kiss is also believed to be on the look-out for a loosehead prop as he looks to strengthen his hand for next season.