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Ulster sign South African-born prop

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Ulster sign South African-born prop who's eligible for Ireland

Ulster have announced that four players – Alan O’Connor, Ross Kane, Dave Shanahan and Rob Lyttle – have signed contract extensions with the club.

They’ve also made an addition with Gareth Milasinovich joining the club in the summer from Worcester Warriors.

The prop has made 19 appearances to date this season. The 26-year-old was born is Johannesburg, South Africa, but qualifies for Ireland through his grandfather Norman McFarland, a former Ulster player.

He is rated as the Premiership’s 15th best tighthead in the RugbyPass Index with an overall RPI of 66.

Ulster Head Coach Dan McFarland is pleased to bolster his pack with the signing of Milasinovich:

“Gareth is a big strong man who will provide us with another good option and enhance competition for places in the front row. We have been aware of his development since his move to Worcester and we’re looking forward to seeing him contribute to Ulster from next season.”

Warriors Director of Rugby Alan Solomons said: “Gareth has made a valuable contribution to the team during his time here at Sixways.

“Although we are sorry to see him go, we appreciate that his move to Ulster affords him the opportunity to challenge for international honours. We wish him all the very best.”
O’Connor, Kane, Shanahan and Lyttle are products of the Ulster Academy.

O’Connor, aged 26, made his debut against Leinster in December 2012 and has developed into a key figure for Ulster in the past few seasons. The second row has racked up 81 appearances and has captained the side on numerous occasions, including Saturday’s win against Zebre.

Shanahan made his senior bow in November 2013 against Edinburgh and has amassed 37 caps. The 25-year-old scrumhalf has scored an impressive six tries to date this season.

Tighthead prop Kane, 24, began his rugby journey at Donaghadee RFC. He made his Ulster debut against Newport Gwent Dragons during the 2016/17 season and he now has 35 appearances to his name.

Dromore man Lyttle, 22, marked a memorable senior debut in September 2016 with two tries against Newport Gwent Dragons. He now totals 18 appearances and has scored 8 tries.

Commenting on the contract extensions, McFarland said:

“Al, Ross, Dave and Rob are all products of our Academy system and it’s great that they have gone on to contribute to the senior squad in the way that they have over the past few years.

“It is very good news for the Province that they will continue to play important roles for the team going forward.”

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Ulster sign South African-born prop who's eligible for Ireland