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Ulster sign highly rated Irish qualified, ex-England U20s star Sean Reffell

By Kim Ekin
Sean Reffell /Getty

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Ulster have confirmed that they have signed highly-rated Saracens flanker Sean Reffell, as well as re-signing Irish internationals John Cooney and Will Addison.


23-year-old Irish-qualified Reffell makes the move to the province next summer. He joins Ulster from Saracens, where he was awarded the Young Player of the Season award for 2020/21. The Irish-qualified back row also holds the Saracens record for most tackles in a game, with 39 tackles made in the Premiership Rugby Cup semi-final versus Worcester in 2019.

Known for his impressive work-rate, the former England U20s openside has made close to 40 appearances for his current club since a debut in the Anglo-Welsh Cup in November 2017.

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“We are looking forward to welcoming Sean to the province next summer,” said Ulster head coach Dan McFarland. “With an already impressive track-record for Saracens, he will be a great fit alongside some real quality in our back row, and I am confident he will be a valuable addition to our squad.”

The securing of both Cooney and Addison has also pleased McFarland.

Since joining Ulster in 2017, 31-year-old Cooney has been a mainstay in the province’s matchday squads. The talismanic player is known for his sniping runs, kicking success, and ability to dictate games.

“John is a valued member of our squad, who continues to play a central role in the team, both on and off the field. It is great that he has bought into our ambitions for the future, and his experience and skills will play an important role in helping us to achieve those.


His performances for the province have seen him consistently rank among the top points-scorers in the PRO14, now United Rugby Championship, competition.

Addison is set to continue to bring his superb vision and ability to create tries to the Ulster set-up. The 29-year-old, who is equally comfortable in midfield and at fullback, has been with the province since 2018 after racking-up over 100 appearances for Sale Sharks.

“I am also delighted that Will is remaining with us, and I look forward to seeing him back out on the field soon. Will has been extremely unlucky with injury recently, but with his play-making abilities and versatility, he is set to continue to make an impact for Ulster in the time ahead.”


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