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Robbie Diack to leave Ulster at end of season

Robbie Diack has announced that he will leave Ulster at the end of the season.

The back-row forward said he intends to return to his homeland South Africa, where he left in 2008, at the age of 22, to make his debut with Ulster in September that year against the Scarlets.

He became the first person born outside of Ulster to make 200 appearances for them in October 2017, and he also played twice for Ireland in 2014.

A decade since his arrival in Belfast, Diack has decided that the time is right to return home.

He said: "When I first came to Ulster in 2008 I had signed a three-year contract and I never imagined that 10 years down the line I’d still be here. Of course I’m very sad to be leaving Ulster, but we feel the time has now come for my family and me to return to South Africa to be closer to family and friends.

"It has been a huge honour for me to play for Ulster and to have earned over 200 caps is something that my family and I are all very proud of.

[quote]I’ve realised what it means to play for Ulster and I’ve witnessed the pride and passion of our fans on a weekly basis. [/quote]

"I’ll be forever grateful for the opportunities that I’ve had and the memories that I’ve made here, and I’m thankful to the people who have supported me along the way.

"While we have quite a few things to keep us occupied in South Africa, I feel that I still have a lot to offer as a professional rugby player. I will be assessing several options on and off the rugby field over the forthcoming months."