Ulster’s hopes of signing Rugby World Cup winner ended with injury

Ulster Rugby has confirmed that they will not be going through with the signing New Zealand Rugby World Cup winner Stephen Donald.

Ulster had agreed a short-term deal for the out-half where he was expected to sign from Japanese club Toshiba Brave Lupus.

New Zealand’s Stephen Donald kicks the winning penalty during the 2011 Rugby World Cup Final. Pic: David Davies/PA Archive/PA Images
New Zealand’s Stephen Donald kicks the winning penalty during the 2011 Rugby World Cup Final. Pic: David Davies/PA Archive/PA Images

However, he picked up an injury on the final day of the season, scuppering the move in the process.

In a statement, Ulster said "Unfortunately, Ulster Rugby is not in a position to proceed with the signing of Stephen Donald, after receiving a medical report on the player yesterday (Sunday).

"Stephen had agreed a short-term deal to join the Province, but he sustained an injury while representing his club in the final game of the Japanese season, which will rule him out for 4+ weeks.

"The timeline now makes it very difficult to find a suitable replacement, but we will continue to monitor the market."

Christian Lealiifano had been starting at out-half for the northern province but his short-term deal ended after yesterday’s defeat to Wasps and along with Paddy Jackson’s absence it leaves Ulster short of players who can play at number 10.

Lealiifano has returned to Australian side the Brumbies in time for the Super Rugby season.

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