Fullback Louis Ludik has signed anextention on his current contract with Ulster.
The 29-year-old South African, who has had previous spells with Super Rugby teams the Lions and the Sharks, as well as a stint with Agen in France, will become Irish-qualified next summer.
Ludik’s signing follows fellow South African Franco van der Merwe’s one year extension as well as new signings Kieran Treadwell (from Harelquins) and Rodney Ah You from Connacht, who are both Irish qualified - with ‘marquee’ signing All Black Charles Piutau also joining over the summer.
Ludik’s current contract - he came to Ulster on a two-year deal is due to end this summer.
Ludik said: “I feel very blessed to be staying here at Ulster. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time here so far as it’s a really nice environment to be in. The people are awesome; they are welcoming and friendly and they have made us feel very much at home.
“There’s a great atmosphere in the squad and the professionalism of the whole organisation is fantastic. I’ve no doubt that the future is bright here at Ulster and it’s something I want to be involved in.
“The medical provision and facilities are great, too. Every time I come to Kingspan Stadium I just feel very fortunate to be here and I’m glad I’ve been given the opportunity to extend my stay.”
Operations Director, Bryn Cunningham, said the deal represented a major boost for the Province:
“Re-signing Louis Ludik is a fantastic outcome for Ulster Rugby as he provides so much to the Province both on and off the field. As Louis becomes Irish-qualified in the summer of 2017, I want to thank the IRFU and David Nucifora for understanding the very clear rationale for allowing us to retain his services.
“Louis has been one of the most consistent performers for Ulster over the past 18 months. His attitude and commitment have been exemplary, becoming an excellent role model for the young backs currently coming through our pathway.
“He has been excellent as the last line of defence and he repeatedly forces himself over the gainline in attack. When you add the versatility he brings, this will give us plenty of exciting options next season.
“Pete Nelson is now a very viable option at outhalf as well and we are starting to build a backline squad of hugely talented individuals who can be maneuvered around positions to enable us to cope better with injuries, international call-ups and player management.”