Kiwi prop John Afoa to begin discussions on future with Ulster

Ulster prop John Afoa says he will use the international break to begin discussions on his future at Ravenhill.

The New Zealand World Cup winner is out of contract at the end of the season.

Although fellow overseas signings such as Ruan Pienaar and Nick Williams have committed their long-term futures to Ulster, Afoa is tipped to return home.

"I've seen the other guys sign up, so it's important I sort out my own future soon," he said, adding, "family is the big one, that's the main motivator".

John Afoa fact file

  • Born in Auckland in 1983
  • Made New Zealand debut in 2005
  • Capped 36 times for All Blacks
  • Won Rugby World Cup in 2011
  • Joined Ulster on two and a half year deal after World Cup
  • Contract expires June 2014

The tight-head is expected to start Friday's Pro12 match at home to Cardiff Blues, which will be his first start of the season after recovering from surgery on his arm, followed by a calf injury.

Ulster are away to Scarlets next week, before a three-week break due to the autumn international series.

Afoa will use that time to return to Auckland, where his wife is now living with his three children, who are all under the age of five.

"I'm planning to go home to see my wife and we'll have a chat and decide what I plan to do over the next few years," revealed Afoa.

"I had my 30th birthday last week and I'm on the home straight career wise now.

"It is a life decision and there is a lot of planning behind it. I've maybe got two or three contracts left so I have to make sure everything is lined up.

"I'm out of contract in May and it's something I need to sort out soon."

John Afoa has yet to decide on his Ulster future

John Afoa joined up with Ulster after the 2011 Rugby World Cup

Afoa is delighted to get back playing again and if he is to leave Ulster at the end of the season, he would love to take a winner's medal back to New Zealand with him.

"I'd love to win some silverware with Ulster," he said.

"We've been so close two years in a row.

"We started slow this season, but we've got some wins under our belt and we're also getting guys back.

"Once we get the whole squad together, we are a dangerous team. The squad has great experience.

"The important thing for me now is to get back playing and get wins for Ulster."

Afoa made his first appearance of the season in last Saturday's impressive 25-8 Heineken Cup victory away to Montpellier.

He said: "it was a great result for the club".

"For me it was all about getting out there again. Four months was a long time to be out, particularly with the rule changes in the scrum. The first scrum was a bit of a lesson, but I was able to turn it around and get back on track.

"Everyone is happy enough, but no-one is popping champagne bottles. There is a long way to go and a lot of big games coming up.

"The lesson we learned last season was that you don't win any silverware before Christmas."