COULD LOUIS LUDIK be the next South African born player to declare for Ireland?
The 29-year-old — who becomes Irish eligible in 2017 — today took the first step by signing a contract extension with Ulster.
It had initially been thought that Ludik would be forced to leave Ulster this summer due to the impending arrival of All Blacks back Charles Piutau. However, the northern province have convinced the IRFU that Ludik should be viewed as a ‘project player’ who will become eligible for Ireland.
Ludik’s versatility — he has played outside centre, wing and fullback for the province over the past 18 months — is highly valued by Ulster. His re-contracting means the province’s backline depth will be even greater next season after the arrival of Piutau.
Commenting on the deal, operations director, Bryn Cunningham, said it represented a major boost for Ulster:
“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.”
Ludik himself 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.”