Robbie Diack: South African-born forward to quit Ulster after 205 appearances

Robbie Diack in action for Ulster against Connacht last December
Robbie Diack last October became the first player born outside of Ulster to make 200 appearances for the province

Robbie Diack has become the latest player to leave Ulster after opting to return home to South Africa following 205 appearances for the province.

Diack, 32, earned two Ireland caps on the 2014 summer tour of Argentina.

"Representing Ulster over the last 10 years has meant more to my family and me than we could have ever imagined," said the forward in a statement.

The South Africa-born player made 16 Super Rugby appearances for Stormers before joining Ulster in 2008.

Last October Diack became the first player born outside of Ulster to make 200 appearances for the province and is the team's sixth most-capped player.

"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," added Diack.

"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."

Ulster Rugby's operations director Bryn Cunningham said: "Robbie has been an outstanding servant to Ulster Rugby and will be missed by staff, players and fans alike."

There has been something of an exodus from Ulster in recent weeks with Andrew Trimble, Tommy Bowe and Paul Marshall announcing their retirements, in addition to the departures of star back Charles Piutau and prop Callum Black.

Ulster have also lost the services of Ireland internationals Paddy Jackson and Stuart Olding after the IRFU and the province opted to revoke their contracts.

Jackson and Olding were cleared of rape in late March after a nine-week trial but there was controversy over social media messages they had exchanged.

On the field, Ulster have had a poor season as they were knocked out in the pool stages of the European Champions Cup and failed to make the Pro14 play-offs.

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