Ulster have announced that exciting youngsters Jacob Stockdale, Ross Kane and Rob Lyttle have signed new contracts with the PRO12 outfit.
Stockdale, who graduated from the Academy last year, has scored eight tries in his 14 competitive appearances which includes seven starts.
Kane and Lyttle, both of whom are current members of the Academy, have been rewarded for their solid development this season with a place on the senior panel. They have already made significant contributions to Les Kiss’ squad, having played 11 and eight games respectively.
“Jacob, Ross and Rob are outstanding talents who, even at a young age, have demonstrated their qualities for our senior team,” said Kiss.
“In addition to having the physical attributes to be top class players, they also possess a positive mental aptitude and a strong understanding of the game. Their development has really accelerated under Kieran Campbell and Willie Anderson in the Academy and they have shown great appetite to continue that with the senior squad.
“All three were identified in the school game at a young age and have come through our player development pathway, which is essential for the sustainable future of Ulster Rugby. We have significantly increased investment in this area over the past couple of years and we are starting to reap the rewards.
“The challenge for us is to bring players through from outside of the school game and it was pleasing to see club youth players Tommy O’Hagan, Aaron Hall and Joe Dunleavy starting for our Ulster A team last Friday, while we also had Adam McBurney and John McCusker on the bench. This is hugely positive for us and hopefully we’ll see even more of this in the years ahead.”