English Championship side Ealing Trailfinders have added Munster Academy full back Dave Johnston to the books shortly after announcing the signings of Limerick man Ben Betts and former Munster scrum half Ryan Foley.
Former Young Munster and Estuary prop Ben Betts will join up with the side this summer following the signing of a two year contract. The former Ireland 20’s star told Sporting Limerick he is delighted to be renewing acquaintances with old friends Johnston and Foley.
“It has made my day. It will feel like home having Dave and Ryan around since I’ve known them as a teen”
Johnston, who can play at either centre or full-back joins from Thomond Park to add yet more quality to the squad which is continuing to take shape for the 2018/19 campaign.
Johnston is a product of the Munster Rugby Academy, and after coming through the youth system he made his debut for the first team in 2015. That season was a breakthrough year for the Irishman, who went on to make nine appearances in the Pro 12 during that campaign.
After being named the Academy Player of the Year, in 2016/17 he joined the first team on a permanent basis playing regularly alongside the likes of Conor Murray, CJ Stander and Peter O’Mahony.
The 24-year-old, whose brother Bill also plays for Munster, has played against Championship sides before after featuring in the British & Irish Cup for the A team on a number of occasions. He was one of only two players to be involved in every match of the 2016/17 B&I Cup campaign which they won by beating Jersey in the final, and then went on to captain them this season.
Johnston told the club’s official website that he’s looking forward to heading to West London for a new chapter.
“I’m really excited for a new challenge of moving to London and playing with Ealing Trailfinders. Having played against them and watching them progress this season, the potential within the group is very exciting. I hope to add value to the organisation and help the club achieve success in anyway I can. I can’t wait to meet the team, work hard and improve myself as a player within the team environment.”
While director of Rugby Ben Ward is excited by Johnston’s arrival for next season.
“David has come through a very prestigious rugby academy with Munster and has been in and around their set up for a number of years which can only put him in good stead.
We are confident that regular rugby will see him become a crucial player for us and with his versatility it adds another couple of options to our back line.
Having analysed him a lot before our B&I Cup Semi Final last year and watching him this year he will add a huge amount to both the 13 and 15 channels.”
While you’re here why not take a look at Sporting Limerick’s exclusive with Ben Betts from back in January when he broke the news he would be leaving Leicester Tigers.