Ulster have confirmed their squad for the 2020/21 season, Dan McFarland’s pick showing three changes from the resources he relied on during the indefinitely suspended 2019/20 campaign that halted with the Irish province through to the quarter-finals of the Heineken Champions Cup and lying in second place in Conference A of the Guinness PRO14. 

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McFarland’s two big signings have already been long revealed, the arrival of out-half Ian Madigan from Bristol and Alby Mathewson, the ex-All Black scrum-half who had started this season at Munster before his deal ran out after he provided World Cup cover for Conor Murray.

Stewart Moore is the third addition to the Kingspan Stadium senior squad for next term, graduating to a one-year development contract that will then become a two-year senior pro deal. The arrivals of Madigan and Mathewson – both on one-year deals – and the upgrading of Moore will see Angus Kernohan, Zack McCall and Clive Ross all leave Ulster. 

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Re-elected World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont guests on The Rugby Pod

Elsewhere, McFarland confirmed the Jordi Murphy and Will Addison have both agreed to two-year extensions to remain part of a squad that will contain 41 fully contracted players and two development players – 39 of which are Irish qualified. They include Jacob Stockdale, who was upgraded to a three-year IRFU central contract in February.

Heading into his third season in charge in Belfast after arriving from Glasgow in 2018, McFarland said: “Our desire to build on the successes of this season to date is evidenced in our strong investment in talent from the current squad. Although it’s an uncertain time for rugby – and all sport – I’m confident our selection will stand us in good stead for when we are able to safely start the new season.

“Once again, the chosen line-up of players shines a light on the indigenous talent nurtured through the academy by Kieran Campbell and his staff – and the role which it, along with the province’s clubs and schools, continues to play in securing the future of Ulster.

“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the players who are moving on from the squad. This includes Clive Ross, who earned 73 caps since joining the province on a development contract in 2014, along with 21-capped Angus Kernohan, and Zack McCall.

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“Looking to the future, we look forward to welcoming the new additions to the squad, who are set to bring their own unique skills and talent, as we move towards a time when the 2020/21 season can kick-off.”

The Ulster academy squad for 2020/21 includes six new entrants: Reuben Crothers, Ben Carson, Nathan Doak, Lewis Finlay, Cormac Izuchukwu and James McCormick.

ULSTER SQUAD 2020/21: Will Addison, John Andrew, Robert Baloucoune, Billy Burns, Sam Carter, Marcell Coetzee, John Cooney, Angus Curtis, Matt Faddes, Craig Gilroy, Iain Henderson, Rob Herring, James Hume, Bill Johnston, Greg Jones, Ross Kane, Michael Lowry, Louis Ludik, Rob Lyttle, Ian Madigan, Luke Marshall, Alby Mathewson, Adam McBurney, Kyle McCall, Stuart McCloskey, Jack McGrath, Gareth Milasinovic, Marty Moore, Stewart Moore, Jordi Murphy, Alan O’Connor, David O’Connor, Eric O’Sullivan, Tom O’Toole, Marcus Rea, Matty Rea, Sean Reidy, David Shanahan, Jonny Stewart, Jacob Stockdale, Nick Timoney, Kieran Treadwell, Andrew Warwick.

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ULSTER ACADEMY SQUAD 2020/21: Azur Allison, Ben Carson, Reuben Crothers, Nathan Doak, Lewis Finlay, Bruce Houston, Hayden Hyde, Cormac Izuchukwu, Dave McCann, James McCormick, Ethan McIlroy, Conor Rankin, Callum Reid, Aaron Sexton, Tom Stewart.

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