Pro12 Rugby transfer news – List of players signed and released by Irish provinces

With the new season now less than six weeks away, Connacht, Leinster, Munster and Ulster have all but completed their work in the transfer market, with some notable names on the move.

The biggest inter-provincial switch has seen Robbie Henshaw swap Connacht for Leinster, while Ulster have snapped up two of the most prominent overseas imports in the form of ex-Wasps utility back Charles Piutau and South African international flanker, Marcell Coetzee.

It’s been a busy summer of comings and goings at all the provinces, so we’ve compiled the list below to enable you to keep track of who will be playing where in 2016-17.

 

Connacht

 

Following their spectacular breakthrough in 2016 when they claimed their inaugural Pro 12 title, Connacht have lost several of their bigger names, but have managed to draft in some potentially handy replacements.

Henshaw has of course decamped to the side they beat in the Pro 12 final, Leinster, while powerful prop Rodney Ah You will be packing down in the Ulster front-row next season and US international AJ MacGinty is expected to be Sale’s first-choice number ten.

The men from the west will also be without abrasive lock Aly Muldowney, who has completed a lucrative switch to Top 14 side Grenoble and luckless utility-back Api Pewhairangi who has returned to rugby league having failed to make a single competitive appearance for the province after sustaining an ACL injury in pre-season last year.

Of the players coming in, 21-year-old Cian Kelleher is a gifted performer at either wing or fullback who made an appearance for Ireland against the Barbarians in 2015, while fly-half Marnitz Boshoff boasts a wealth of Currie Cup and Super Rugby experience with the Blue Bulls and Lions among others.

And Eoin Griffin will be keen to make his mark in the centres as he returns to his home province after a two-year stint with London Irish.

 

Players In

 

Players Out

 

Leinster

 

In addition to the capture of Henshaw, Leinster have restricted themselves to only three further new recruits in Ian Nagle, Jamison Gibson-Park and Niall Morris.

Former Munster lock Nagle will be aiming to kick start his career after disappoitning spells in England with Newcastle and London Irish, while Maori All Blacks representative Jamison-Park has the potential to become a firm favourite with the RDS faithful.

The 24-year-old former Blues and Hurricanes man is a dynamic scrum-half with swift, accurate distribution and a real eye for a break.

Morris, meanwhile, is a familiar face having previously played for the men in blue before spending five successful years at Leicester Tigers.

Capable of slotting in at wing or fullback, he is yet another option for coach Leo Cullen who already has the likes of David Kearney, Rob Kearney, Isa Nacewa, Fergus McFadden and Zane Kirchner at his disposal.

Cullen has lost plenty of backline talent and experience over the summer, however, with Ian Madigan moving to Bordeaux, Isaac Boss taking on a new challenge with Waikato and Eoin Reddan and Luke Fitzgerald both retiring.

The mobile and versatile Ben Te’o has also moved on, completing a switch to Worcester as he looks to press his claims for an England cap.

 

Players In

Players Out

Munster

 

Like their arch-rivals Leinster, Munster have only brought in a handful of new faces, namely promising Ireland Under-20 centre Sam Arnold, experienced prop John Andress and towering lock, Darren O’Shea.

But Anthony Foley may not have felt the need for a major recruitment drive given that not many of his existing players have headed out of Thomond Park.

South African duo Gerhard van den Heever and BJ Botha have both departed, along with long-serving back Dennis Hurley, but by and large, Foley has kept faith with his squad despite a rather underwhelming campaign last term in which they finished sixth in the Pro 12 and failed to emerge from a tough pool in the European Champions Cup.

 

Players In

 

Players Out

 

Ulster

 

Piutau and Coetzee have been Ulster’s two highest-profile signings of the summer, but Ah You will also strengthen their pack, as will athletic young second-row Keiran Treadwell who has arrived from Harlequins.

A powerful runner with ball in hand, the 21-year-old has the potential to enjoy a breakthrough season at Kingspan Park where he will benefit from playing alongside the likes of Iain Henderson and Franco van der Merwe.

In terms of outgoings, Ruaidhri Murphy appears set to return to Australia, possibly to link up with the Brumbies, while experienced Number 8 Nick Williams has opted to end his four-season stint with the province and link up with Cardiff Blues.

Overall, however, Ulster look a stronger outfit than they were last season and should be a major threat in the Pro 12, even if a difficult pool draw may hinder their propsects of making an impact in the European Champions Cup.

 

Players In

 

Players Out

 

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