Ulster Rugby has announced its second major signing for the 2010-2011 season as Cardiff Blues back row forward Xavier Rush will join the province on a two year contract.
Rush (32) together with Johann Muller, will link up with the Ulster Squad on 1st July for pre-season training.
The 8 times capped All Black left the Auckland Blues to join Cardiff in 2005, having captained the Auckland team to NPC success in 2002 and then victory in the Ranfurly Shield and Super 12 title in 2003. Standing at 6’2"tall and weighing 112kg, the Auckland born Rush made his international debut against Australia in 1998 and has, to date, made 96 appearances in the Magners League and Heineken Cup.
Commenting on Ulster’s new signing, Director of Rugby Operations, David Humphreys, said: "Success in Northern Hemisphere rugby is built around the pack of forwards. Over the past number of seasons, Xavier has been one of the outstanding back row forwards in European rugby and his ball carrying ability and leadership qualities will further strengthen Ulster’s pack for next season.
"With the demands on players in the build up to the Rugby World Cup and the increasing number of injuries in the professional game, it is vital to have depth in key positions throughout the squad and Xavier will also play an important role in developing Ulster’s young back row forwards."
Ulster Head Coach, Brian McLaughlin, added: "Xavier will be a great asset to the Ulster back row. He is an aggressive, attacking player, who has played his rugby at the highest level.
"He is a big hitter on the field and has been instrumental in Cardiff Blues success in recent seasons. The management team is delighted to have a player of Xavier’s caliber, join our squad ahead of next season.
"The experience that Xavier will bring with him, is of great value and importance to the Ulster squad now, and in-terms of future team development. Having players of his talent about, help raise the bar for everyone, and develop our young players to the levels required to play Magners League and Heineken Cup rugby."
Speaking about his move to Ulster, Xavier Rush remarked: "I am delighted to have signed with Ulster, and I am looking forward to becoming a part of a team that has some great young players and plenty of ambition.
"The 5 years that I spent at Cardiff were terrific, but I felt like it was the right time for a change and a new challenge, and moving to a vibrant city like Belfast is going to provide me with that.
"Also, being on the right side of the Ulster fans for once is going to be great and I now look forward to making the move, getting out on the field and becoming an Ulsterman."