Ulster sign Nick Williams while Michael Heaney returns

Ulster have made three new signings ahead of the new season with New Zealander Nick Williams the latest recruit to arrive at Ravenhill.

The 28-year-old played for Munster and helped them secure the Magners League title in the 2008/2009 season.

Scrum-half Michael Heaney has rejoined Ulster from Doncaster Knights while back row Sean Doyle has also signed.

Heaney has been given a four month deal, with the opportunity of a full-time contract when it expires.

Nick Williams has been signed to provide cover for Stephen Ferris. He is regarded as an explosive ball carrier and he has played for the Blues, Aironi and Munster during his career.

He also played for North Harbour under Anscombe in the Air New Zealand Cup.

After helping Munster to win the league in his debut season, he moved to Italian franchise Aironi, scoring 10 tries in 31 league games.

Ulster's Director of Rugby, David Humphreys, said: "Nick was a standout player during his time at Aironi and he will add a great deal to our squad".

"His addition means there will be real depth right across the back row and this is vital, given that Stephen Ferris is under an IRFU Player Management Programme.

"Mark Anscombe brought him out of club rugby in New Zealand and believes he can make a huge impact here at Ulster. He is an excellent ball carrier and is a very physical in defence."

Doyle, 22, is an Australian-born openside flanker but he is Irish qualified.

Heaney, who is a graduate of the Phoenix Ulster Academy, has represented the province at all levels and made his senior Ulster debut in a pre-season friendly away to Harlequins in August 2010.

The 21-year-old was a member of the Ireland U20 squad that won the 2010 Six Nations Championship and also competed in the IRB Junior World Championships later that year.

Heaney joined Doncaster midway through the 2011/12 season after playing his club rugby in Ulster with Belfast Harlequins.