Jack McGrath: Ireland prop switches from Leinster to Ulster in bid to boost international career

Ireland and Leinster prop Jack McGrath
Ireland and Leinster prop Jack McGrath
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Ireland prop Jack McGrath is the latest Leinster player to confirm a move to Ulster as he looks to develop his career.

McGrath was first capped for Ireland in 2013 against Samoa and has won 54 caps for Ireland to date and featured in all three Tests on the 2017 British and Irish Lions Tour of New Zealand. He is a Six Nations winner with Ireland in 2014, 2015 and 2018.

He made his debut for Leinster in 2010 against Glasgow Warriors and has made over 140 appearances for the Province, winning three Heineken European Cups, an Amlin Challenge Cup, a Guinness PRO14 title and two PRO12 titles.

Admitting it was a difficult decision, McGrath said: "I believe (this move) will put me in the best position to continue to perform at the top end of the game.

"I have enjoyed a huge amount of success at Leinster, but I feel that looking beyond the World Cup to the next phase of my career, I will benefit from the opportunity within the Ulster environment.

"I am now fully fit after a disrupted start to the season and I’m looking forward to putting all my energy into helping Leinster’s drive to defend the European and PRO14 titles and finishing this season on a high."

Dan McFarland, Ulster’s Head Coach welcomed the move adding: "We are delighted to be welcoming Jack on board next season, and it is hugely encouraging to see a player of his calibre express the desire to join us.

"Jack’s quality on the field is undoubtable, and his experience of playing at the highest level will be a hugely valuable asset to the club as we continue to develop a promising group of young forwards."

And Ulster CEO, Jonny Petrie, believes the decision by the prop forward came on the back of the quality of rugby programme that McFarland and his team have put in place.

"It is a statement of the positive direction in which this club is heading.

"We are building something very strong here and I'm extremely pleased that Jack wants to be part of that."

David Nucifora, IRFU Performance Director, added: "Jack has made a very tough decision which he believes will advance his case for selection for Ireland. You have to respect a player with such ambition.

"Leinster is a fantastic environment but it is testament to the work that all four provinces are doing that players are seeking opportunities within Ireland to advance their international careers."