Ulster snap up a pair of young out-halves as they look to the future

Brett Herron has signed from Bath as Jonny McPhillips is upgraded to a development contract.

Johnny McPhillips kicks a penalty during the U20 Six Nations.
Johnny McPhillips kicks a penalty during the U20 Six Nations.
Image: Alex Dodd/INPHO

AS ULSTER PLAN for life without Ian Humphreys, and with Paddy Jackson expected to spend more time on Ireland duty, the province have moved to sign Brett Herron from Bath today, while also upgrading Irish U20 international Johnny McPhillips a development contract.

Tipped for success from his time at Wellington College, 20-year-old Herron is Irish qualified — though is a former England U18 international — and Ulster say he has been “keenly observed” by national selectors since making his Bath United debut in the Aviva A-League in 2014.

McPhillips’ performances with Ulster A were rewarded with a call up to the Irish U20 side for the Six Nations this season and the 19-year-old started all five games at number 10.

Commenting on the signings, Ulster Director of Rugby Les Kiss said:

“We are delighted to bring Brett into the Ulster environment. He has undoubted potential, with an array of skills and real line-breaking ability, which we aim to explore further.

“Johnny McPhillips enjoyed a successful stint with Ireland U20s in this season’s Six Nations Championship and that experience will stand him in good stead.

“He is mature well beyond his years and he has the right temperament and ability to succeed at the highest level. He will undoubtedly push through next season and stake a claim for senior squad involvement.

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“We would fully expect Paddy Jackson to be involved with Ireland squads in the coming years so the knock-on effect will be the requirement for Ulster to produce more Irish-qualified options at 10. Brett and Johnny are definitely two very exciting prospects.”

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Steve O'Rourke

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