Ulster hooker Roberts's remarkable rise continues as he's drafted into Wales squad to replace Owens

The 25-year-old joined Rainey Old Boys in Division 2B of the All-Ireland League in 2017, and in four years has worked his way into the Welsh fold.

Brad Roberts in action for Ulster against Benetton earlier this season.
Brad Roberts in action for Ulster against Benetton earlier this season.
Image: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

ULSTER HOOKER BRAD Roberts has been called into Wayne Pivac’s Wales squad ahead of tomorrow’s clash with New Zealand.

Roberts is drafted in to replace Wales’ first-choice hooker Ken Owens, who withdrew from the starting XV to face the All Blacks yesterday with a back injury, just minutes after the team was officially announced.

Ryan Elias will start at hooker for the Welsh in Owens’ stead, with Cardiff’s Kirby Myhill promoted to the bench.

Roberts has made 10 appearances for Ulster, most recently scoring a try against Connacht during Saturday’s defeat at the Aviva Stadium.

The 25-year-old was born and raised in South Africa but qualifies to play for Wales through his paternal grandmother, and once upon a time played in the Welsh Premiership.

Having initially tried in Wales before moving back home for a couple of years where he missed out on a contract with the Sharks, Roberts relocated to Ireland in 2017 in pursuit of a professional rugby career. He began playing with the Magherafelt-based Rainey Old Boys, whom he helped gain promotion to Division 2A of the All-Ireland League during his second season in 2018/19.

He was initially drafted in as injury cover by Ulster towards the end of last year, making five appearances off the bench in the Pro14. He has since been rewarded with a full contract by the northern province, and is signed until next year.

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His form for Ulster in the United Rugby Championship this season has now been rewarded with an international call-up by Wales, the land of his father’s mother.

Bernard Jackman, Murray Kinsella, and Gavan Casey assess the provinces’ first URC blocks and look ahead to November for the Ireland men’s and women’s teams on The42 Rugby Weekly:

Source: The42 Rugby Weekly/SoundCloud

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