The former Ireland under-20 fly-half has had limited playing time this season due to injuries and other personnel at the club. With Ireland international Joey Carbery at Thomond Park, as well as JJ Hanrahan and Tyler Bleyendaal, Johnston must have weighed up his options going into next season and opted for the move.
But Munster fans have shown their dismay on Twitter that the province would let the 22-year-old leave, given how much is expected of him.
This is what they said:
Very disappointed with this. Just hope he can stay injury free. https://t.co/EXmSd8Bqcm
— Aiden (@AidenStalker) May 20, 2019
Best of luck to him. Incredibly talented player. Will be missed.
— Ciara Ní Cheocháin (@CiaraJunokeo) May 20, 2019
You've got yourselves your outhalf of the future there boys. Great job.
— Colin Mehigan ?? (@colinmehigan) May 20, 2019
I can’t understand how we let him go. No doubt he will prosper up there and best of luck to him
— Paul Rossiter (@Rossipj) May 20, 2019
Go well Bill, 1 of the brightest players to come through our system in recent history. Something goods happening up north and hopefully you'll be central to it #suaf
— Sean McGabhainn (@seanmcGsuaf) May 20, 2019
Rough one to take. Hope things go better for him at Ulster, he deserves better than what he got here. https://t.co/IOmvugaMS7
— Thomas Moroney (@tmoroney4697) May 20, 2019
Brilliant signing for Ulster. Sorry to see him leave Munster but delighted he's still in the Irish system and going to a great team
— Thomondlark (@ThumundLark) May 20, 2019
The Munster fans seem acutely aware of the potential that Johnston has, and are expecting him to thrive at Ravenhill over the next few seasons. While he has not played a lot since making his debut for the men in red in 2017, he was part of the Ireland team that reached the final of the 2016 World Rugby Under-20 Championship. This was a squad that boasted the likes of James Ryan and Jacob Stockdale, which could be an indication of his ability.
Johnston will not walk into the Ulster squad, as he will need to battle with Billy Burns and Johnny McPhillips for a starting berth. McPhillips started the under-20 final against England in 2016, and is set to battle again with Johnston to wear the 10 shirt. But perhaps there is a greater chance of making it with Ulster than his current team.
This is not the first player from a rival province that Ulster have signed, with Leinster’s Jack McGrath also moving north ahead of next season, and is joined by Wallabies lock Sam Carter and Highlanders utility back Matt Fades, as the Belfast team seek to build upon their Pro14 semi-final that they lost at the weekend.
Meanwhile, Munster, who also lost in the Pro14 semi-final, as well as losing at the same stage in the Champions Cup, have made a fairly meagre recruitment drive. The additional loss of Johnston has not pleased the fans, as he has been highlighted as one for the future that the Thomond Park faithful will miss out on.
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