Rodney Ah You's Move To Ulster Benefits Everyone Involved

Rodney Ah You's Move To Ulster Benefits Everyone Involved

From the outset, it doesn't look like David Nucifora had anything to do with tighthead prop's Rodney Ah You's move from Connacht to Ulster - but this is exactly the type of move that Irish rugby fans want him to be encouraged. Granted, we don't know what went on behind the scenes, and if Nucifora and the IRFU are involved then kudos to them, but the press release from the Connacht website hints that it was Ah You's decision.

Even still, the prospect of the westerners losing an Irish international could have been worse. It's probably the position that Connacht are most stacked in at the moment, and it's a position that Ulster needed depth in. Therefore having it's resources spread out better should benefit both parties.

For Ulster, they are getting an internationally capped prop to back up the impressive and nearly Irish qualified Wiehahn Herbst. Herbst is halfway through his residency, and should be entering into his prime as a tighthead at 29 when he qualifies. But he has been injury prone, and having Ah You in the squad is an upgrade over Ricky Lutton.

From a Connacht point of view, they'll miss the ball carrying that Ah You brings, but in Nathan White, the improving Finlay Bealham and the academy prospects Conan O'Donnell and Conor Kenny - the westerners have enough Irish quality. White is the starter for the foreseeable future, and at 34 his lack of rugby throughout his career could mean he could last for a while yet. Behind him, I've been extremely impressed with 24-year-old Finlay Bealham who has been a force on either side of the scrum. Bealham is more naturally suited to the tighthead side, but has had to fill in on both sides because of Denis Buckley's untimely injury.



That brings us to 19-year-old Conan O'Donnell. O'Donnell is set to be the cornerstone of the U-20s this season, and the prop is one of the most highly rated forwards in the Connacht academy for some time. He's already made his Connacht debut, and the future is extremely bright. He won't be ready for a season or two, but he'll learn behind White and Bealham, and get more chances with Ah You gone.

In conclusion, Ulster's squad is improved. Connacht's backlog is eased allowing for more opportunities to their promising youngsters. And whether they had something to do with it or not, the IRFU must be happy that their resources have been better spread around. Now hopefully something similar can happen with other backlogs throughout the country.

Of course, Connacht fans won't be particularly pleased at losing a fan favourite, but it could have been a lot worse.

See Also: Ireland's 2019 Rugby World Cup Team Could Be Even Better Than 2015

Conor O'Leary
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"That's what." - She.

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