Ulster have confirmed the signing of out-half Bill Johnston from Munster.
The 22-year-old will join an out-half stable already featuring Billy Burns, Angus Curtis and Johnny McPhillips. Burns has been first choice this season but his lacklustre performance - just like the majority of his teammates - in Friday's PRO14 semi-final defeat to Glasgow should give Johnston reason to believe the number ten jersey is up for grabs at Ravenhill.
Johnston was a key member of the Ireland U20 team which reached the 2016 World Championship final. He made his Munster debut two years ago against Zebre. In April 2018, he was given a new two-year deal at Thomond Park.
The Irish Times first reported word of a possible move for Johnston earlier this month, saying that the Tipperary native's position down the pecking order at Munster - where is behind Joey Carbery, Tyler Bleyendall and JJ Hanrahan - was the main reason for his decision to move north.
"I’m an ambitious player and this is a great opportunity for me to test myself in an exciting new environment and develop my game under Dan [McFarland] and the other coaches," said Johnston.
Ulster has a talented young squad that is hungry for success and it’s an organisation that’s clearly moving in the right direction. That’s something I really want to be part of and I can’t wait to make the move to Belfast and get stuck into pre-season training.
Ulster head coach McFarland is excited about Johnston's potential.
"Bill is a very exciting young prospect who, for a number of reasons, has had limited playing opportunities over the past couple of years," said McFarland.
"He obviously feels now is the right time for a new challenge in his career and he will bring enthusiasm and unquestionable talent to our squad. We’re confident that he’ll be a really good addition."
Photo by Ben Evans/Sportsfile