Injury-ravaged Ulster have strengthened their front-row options by signing Georgian prop Anton Peikrishvili on a short-term deal until December 19.
With Ricky Lutton, Wiehahn Herbst and Jonny Simpson all set to miss the start of the season due to injury, director of rugby Les Kiss was at risk of having a patched-up front row for their Guinness PRO12 opener against Newport Gwent Dragons on Friday.
With further injury doubts for Stuart Olding, Craig Gilroy, Sean Reidy, and Louis Ludik, the importance of how quickly the deal had gone through was not something that could be undersold by Kiss.
The signing of Peikrishvili also marks a first move out of French club rugby since 2007 for the 28-year-old Georgia international, most notably plying his trade with Brive and Castres as well as earning 23 caps to date, one in the Rugby World Cup.
“It’s a challenging period with Wiehahn Herbst, Ricky Lutton and Jonny Simpson currently unavailable due to injury, so it was important for us to explore what short-term options were open to us,” said Kiss.
“Bryn Cunningham (Operations Director) has moved with speed to recruit Anton and I would like to thank the IRFU for their expediency and flexibility in allowing us to bring in this support.
“During these discussions we shared our desire to give young Academy props, such as Ross Kane and Craig Trenier, opportunities to represent the senior squad.
“Anton is an experienced player who will provide us with extra cover in a very important position.
“The Georgians are traditionally very strong scrummagers and Anton is no different in this regard. For a big unit he is pretty mobile and he will be able to contribute around the park, which is important for the style of rugby we wish to play.”
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