Allen comes on board with Edinburgh

Edinburgh Rugby have confirmed that Ulster wing/centre, Michael Allen, will join the club at the end of this season.
The 24-year-old, credited with pace, strength and a massive work rate, who has played all his professional rugby with the Belfast club, joins on a two-year deal, taking him through to May 2017.
A former pupil of Methodist College Belfast, his peers included Luke Marshall, Craig Gilroy and Paddy Jackson who also joined Ulster's Academy straight from school. He said:

"I got into the game through my dad who's a big rugby man, a big club man. 

In fact Allen attended his first game at two weeks old, his dad turning out for the now Belfast Harlequins team who he went on to play for. With Methodist College he won the Ulster Schools' Cup in 2008 and 2009, and continued to represent Ulster at under-18, under-19 and Academy levels.
Making his senior Ulster debut against Leinster in 2012, he really came to the fore last season when injuries to Tommy Bowe and Andrew Trimble saw him taking his chance on the wing.
He said: "I've always been in the centre, played centre all through school and then moved over to the wing to try to get more game time, but I'm happy doing both.”
His rugby heroes are equally split over the two field positions.
"My first real rugby memory was Jonah Lomu in that World Cup where he ran over the English and I remember thinking he's pretty class; and Johnny Wilkinson, whenever he was playing, he was unbelievable.
"Up until recently, whenever we were playing Toulon I was hoping to play against Matt Giteau, he was also one of my childhood heroes.”
In crossing the Irish Sea, Allen will also be leaving his childhood home, the place where he learned the trade he has plied since leaving school.
He said: "I've never lived anywhere else, always been in Belfast, and I'm probably a bit of a homebird. I do love the city and everything that comes with it but I'm looking forward to making a change, starting afresh.
"Apart from playing Edinburgh at BT Murrayfield over the last few years, I've only ever to been to the city twice to visit, both times with rugby school tours when we played Merchiston Castle School.
"I'm really looking forward to moving to the city, I'm really excited. It looks like an incredible place to live.”
 What has also excited Allen is the progress of Edinburgh this season and the style of play which is developing within the club. He said:


"Edinburgh have played some brilliant rugby this year and shown the potential of being a very, very good side.


"I think the ethos, the fitness, the physicality, everything – from what I can see the team pride themselves on being the best defensively, the fittest and the most disciplined and I'm just looking forward to getting stuck in and trying to spring anything I can.” 


Michael Allen - biography
Born in Belfast on 28 November 1990
H: 6ft
W: 98kg

After European Challenge Cup semi final success last weekend, Edinburgh refocus their energies on the Guinness PRO12 and the quest for a sixth place finish this Friday when they meet Zebre at BT Murrayfield (kick-off 7.35pm).

Tickets for the fixture are priced at £20 (adults, if bought by midnight Thursday - £25 on match day), £10 (concessions) and £5 under-18s.

Tickets for the European Challenge Cup Final, where Edinburgh meet Gloucester on Friday 1 May at Twickenham Stoop, are currently on sale through the club to supporters who have previously purchased Edinburgh tickets, with Scottish postcodes. See the web site at for more details